Solar Energy and Power

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Solar Steam Train

CREDIT: By Oxyman [GFDL (, CC-BY-SA-3.0 ( or CC BY 2.5 (], from Wikimedia Commons

Basically, we all are aware that solar energy can be used to generate electricity or heat for our homes or whatever machine in question that may be using the solar technology. What we may not know however, is that if combined with technology from a steam engine then the solar powered steam originating from the sun can be harnessed as solar steam power and used to manufacture clean mechanical energy as well which can be used in the working of a solar steam generator such as the idea for a solar steam train.

Steam engines in the olden times used firewood or coal to burn and boil water in a reservoir to produce steam concentrated at high pressures which is useful in rotating a piston by the steam engine but these methods produced a lot of soot, smoke and carbon emissions, harmful to the environment, which contributed to activities aimed at finding a newer more reliable and less wasteful steam generator.

This saw the proposal of the solar steam train come to be.

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The use of solar may be a bit less efficient as compared to the regular more polluting fuels but it is a lot more environmentally friendly which is a better win on any day. Since the energy given off by the sun is in abundance, pollution free and is as well free of charge, it doesn’t make it unreasonable to want to convert it and use it mechanically to drive our machines-in this case, the solar steam train. The sun’s energy however is dissipated across a wide region and to be able to harness it would mean concentrating it at one certain point to produce enough heat to convert water into pressurized steam.

A few components are used in this process such as a solar collector, which is the lens used to concentrate the sun’s rays to a certain point where it can be collected, the heat transfer point where the sunlight is focused onto a metal transfer case which allows for the heating of water to turn it into steam with supporting high temperature and high pressure equipment and finally the steam engine which is the chamber that focuses the pressurized steam and normal atmospheric pressure to move pistons which in turn move shafts which are then used to turn the mechanical apparatus.

It however does have some challenges facing it before its successful integration to make a working solar steam engine such as; the amount of power dissipated from a steam engine is not the same as from an internal combustion engine which produces significantly more power output. It may take more than one steam engine to do the equivalent work of one internal combustion engine. They also require more regular maintenance as compared to ordinary engines.

Solar steam power is also focused purely on the sun and as such is limited to day times and clear skies but ways are being worked on that will see steam produced from solar energy being stored for use at times when solar energy is unavailable. To provide enough heat from the sunlight as well that can be used to heat water and create steam needs concentrated light which would need large reflective mirrors placed at a central location with no obstruction most probably the top of the train. These large lenses or as well parabolic mirrors can be used, are very expensive and putting up a number of these together enough for the project will be expensive. They also have to constantly be aligned to follow the movement of the sun.

Though the use of solar steam technology for trains is not as efficient or even convenient, it is a non-polluting energy source and with continued improvements to technology and solar steam energy to be specific, it will find practical use in the near fast-approaching future.

Using The Sun’s Power To Your Advantage And Saving Money

Within the last decade, more and more people have started to consider solar power. People are trying to reduce their carbon footprint. Keep reading to learn more about solar energy.

When beginning to use solar energy, start small. Start by purchasing a few solar powered energy landscape lights. It’s easy to find this sort of product online, at home improvement stores and at big box stores. Install them along your walkway for lighting.

If you are comparing prices on a solar energy unit, make sure you are comparing apples to apples. Some companies might offer bargain priced systems, but these systems might not hold up, be backed by a credible warranty or function in a way that really saves you money. Keep in mind that sometimes it is better to spend a little more now so that you save a lot more in the long run.

If you cannot afford to purchase a solar energy system for your entire house, consider using it in just one or two spaces. Solar energy is a great option for heating swimming pools for instance, or bringing additional warmth to a cooler bedroom. You can always start small and purchase more later, as your budget allows.

Know how light mixes with the trees around your property. You may think you’ve got the perfect spot for a solar panel, but watch it throughout the day. The sun coming in from different angles may lead to surprising shadows from trees and foliage. This will affect your solar output.

If you are building a vacation, rental or retirement home in a rural area, solar power can make a lot of sense. It can spare you the cost of a power line being routed to your home. At the very least it can give you some power in the case of local grid outages, as rural areas have power restored far more slowly than what you might be used to in a city.

Though solar panels are put in areas with the most sunlight, some factors could affect the sun getting to them. Therefore, ensure you regularly check up the area around your solar panels to check for trees or large bushes that may be growing and blocking the sun from hitting the panels.

Try to keep away from people that sell solar energy systems if they’re being pushy about making a sale. This industry has a lot of salespeople like this. You should always consider such an expensive investment carefully and get several estimates. If they can offer you a good deal now, they can offer it to you again at a future date. Pressured decisions can cost you a lot more later on.

When planning your panels, take into consideration the shadows that nearby trees may pass over the area. Solar panels usually need to be mounted high on the roof, in a location that is exposed to the sun for the longest period of time. However, what seems like a great spot may be covered in shade for a certain period of the day.

Think about having your solar panels connected to the power grid. With this type of system, you can sell excess energy to your power company. This helps your system pay itself off faster.

If you are thinking about using solar energy in your home, you can now do-it-yourself. Everything needed to get your home powered by the sun is now available online and ready for purchase. You can save thousands on your solar system by learning about how to install a system for yourself and doing it yourself.

One of the easiest things at your home to convert to solar power is your outdoor lighting. There are many attractive solar lighting options available at your local home center. These fixtures are easy to install and are relatively inexpensive. Spend some time browsing the selections and see which options will be suitable for your outdoor needs.

If you are going to invest a lot of money into solar panels, you should make sure that you pay for monitoring services. This type of service will make sure that things are working as they should be. You can usually access the information by phone, computer or a wall-mounted device.

You should use a hose to keep your solar panels clean. Try to do this four times per month; you may not need to climb up on the roof if you do. Also, you will never be concerned about scratching your panels.

Get smaller solar panels to power your indoor appliances. There are some very affordable solar panels that you can bring into your home. Some of the devices you can power with solar power include your alarm clock, your coffee maker and even your iPod. Check out smaller panels to see how you can use solar energy even if you aren’t sold on the bigger panels yet.


If you would like to partially “go solar”, think about smaller applications. There are two ways to do this. You could, for instance, invest in small solar panels that can be mounted on a window. You should also consider investing in small appliances that can be powered with solar panels. Every tiny thing you do will make your energy bill that much cheaper.

Look into portable solar energy battery packs. These can be extremely useful when you are somewhere that does not have access to power. For example, it could be used to charge your cell phone while you are camping in a remote location. It has recently become very popular, and because of this, it is relatively inexpensive.

If you have animals that require electric fencing to contain them, use solar powered fencing units to provide power for them. A great advantage to these systems is that they are completely mobile, and can be easily moved. If you are a horse owner who enjoys overnight horse-camping, the fencer can be easily taken along.

Do you realize how much solar energy can enhance your life? Solar power is among the greatest sources of power, thanks to being clean and abundant. It’s a good idea to use solar energy power for all your needs. You will feel good about the decision, and the Earth will agree.

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