Two solar power technologies exist, the passive and the active technology. The passive technology are the photocell panels or the photovoltaic film that receives sunlight and generates electricity more apt for a space station or a home. The active technology is a solar thermal that uses a dish to concentrate sunlight that produces steam, which in turn powers a turbine that generates electricity. Another active technology, which is not being promoted, hidden form public view, is using the Stirling Engine to move a power generator.
The passive technology is ready to go, and there are a few homes that have already installed the system. This system is totally clean, backed by the USDOE Solar American Initiative, it requires sufficient space on the roof to position the panels or film, and uses an inverter to turn direct current into alternate current homes can use. The Utility companies have also developed the Net Metering system to buy electricity on their terms, from homes that have generate a surplus of electricity. The new federal tax law “Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008” effective January 2009 provides a 30% tax credit of the cost of a solar system. Some States are also providing large incentives to install solar systems, although with the current economic crisis these paybacks can be curtailed or delayed. The rest of the payback has to come from real savings generated over time by the system from the Utility company. This passive solar system is expensive as of today, and payback is obtained in 8 years of savings. Photovoltaic film or photocell panels are low efficiency and voltage, and compare badly with the option of buying electricity from the utility company. Currently you require from 13 to 15 photocell panels to generate the 2.5 to 3.0 Kilowatt hours generating capacity.
Walmart has established a pilot plan to install photovoltaic panels in several of their stores. If the system produces a return, they will massively implement it in all their stores, since they have sufficient roof space currently not utilized.
The Solar-thermal system is not adequate for homes and mainly will be used for large Utility companies. However, the active system based on a Stirling engine to power a generator which could be applicable for homes, is not available for massive distribution. Although all of its components have been developed, no one has yet integrated the solar power generating kit, or a home appliance. This home system or appliance should be very low cost because it requires: a solar collector or dish which could cost around $200 USD, a stiriling engine with a cost of $350, the 3 KW per hour power generator with a cost of $350, and the battery bank which is the expensive ticket item and could run several thousand dollars, to store electricity if the system is a stand alone not tied to the power grid. If the home is currently supplied by a utility company, then the battery bank is not needed and the Net Metering system with the public utility company can be used. In addition to the sun collector dish the rest of the system can be packaged in two boxes. One which has the stiriling engine and power generator, and the other with the battery if you are a location not tied to the grid. It can also have a gas heater installation as a backup to when there is a lack of sunlight making this a very reliable alternative.
Apparently, there are companies in America, New Zealand, India, Sweden, and other countries trying to develop the stiriling engine . A few companies are receiving funding from investment funds to develop the stiriling engine for this home appliance. Infinia Corporation, a US company has a head start, because they are currently producing a big sterling engine to power up 10 homes at a time and installing many of them in a centralized solar farm in California. Other companies should not be discouraged because markets are so huge, there will be enough room for all suppliers. Just in United States alone there is a potential of 124 million homes that could use the solar power appliance, plus commercial and industrial sites.
Having the home powering appliance, can be the initial steps for returning to sustainable systems. Today, the sun is light and warmth, provided to us from God and Nature, free for all of us to use and enjoy. A home solar powered generator would provide clean energy, and allow equal footing to all nations rich and poor, to devote their funding into other worthwhile social services such as health and education. Rich nations which have electrical grids and power generation capacity would suddenly feel there would be no need to continue increasing Power generation capacities and hopefully they would discontinue all those plants that contaminate. Please see Poverty generation: http://www.articlesbase.com/politics-articles/poverty-and-the-new-world-order-809385.html