Stuff You May Not Know About Solar Panels

This is nothing more than a collection of interesting little tidbits about having solar panels installed. It's just neat stuff to think about and know!

Sometimes, There Are Sheep

Okay, one of the issues that you can run into with having solar arrays installed on land (rather than having panels on your roof or other buildings) is that grass grows underneath them. Well, obviously, but that grass is hard to get to in order to trim. The solution, many have discovered, is sheep. You can actually rent flocks of sheep to come chow on your grass under the solar panels (in order to keep them from being damaged by the grass and other undergrowth). There are even specific grass mixes that are better for the setup and healthier for the sheep. Maybe you'll get to pet a sheep! They're very soft.

Anything Can Be Solar Powered

While you may not quite be ready to convert the whole house over to solar energy, there are lots of products available that make use of solar power to work. You can get solar-powered decorative lights of all varieties- fairy lights, holiday lights, garden party lights if it's an outdoor light for the home there's a good chance you can find it in solar. You can also get a laptop and phone battery chargers that are solar. This might be really useful if you are considering going camping this year. And this may help you get used to some of the quirks of how solar energy works before you do the big investment.

Solar-Thermal Hot Water Heaters Don't Use Solar Panels

This may or may not surprise you, but solar-thermal hot water heaters (more commonly, if confusingly, referred to as solar hot water heaters) work on a similar theory but different technology to heat water than a solar panel. Solar-thermal water heaters convert the solar energy into heat- this is a much simpler task than turning it into electricity. In fact, if you have a black pot and a sunny spot you can do this, to a lesser effect. There are really low tech portable camp showers that do this with just a black bag to hold the water. The heaters have a little bit more tech involved, though. You don't have to convert your hot water heater over in order to convert your whole household over to solar energy, but because they use less energy they may be a key part of you going solar.

You Don't Have to Go Off the Grid to Go Solar

While some municipalities and electrical companies were leery about embracing solar energy, many of them have become a lot more green energy-friendly, so it's a lot easier than it used to be to stay on the grid but get much of your power through solar panels. This is a rare scenario where you can have your cake and eat it. You can save the money that solar helps you save, but if you exceeded your power needs, you won't suffer a drain. In some places, you may actually be able to sell your excess energy back to the main grid, which is really neat!