Carter Oosterhouse shares tips and insights on using solar power in order to cut down your energy bills and get green.
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Carter Oosterhouse: Hey, what's up guys? So, one of the questions that I get asked the most is how to save money on your energy bills? Well, my best suggestion is solar power. Now, I am not going to lie to you. Solar power can be very expensive. Now, how much you'll spend really depends on a lot of things. How big is your house, your family size? It's not uncommon to pay around $20,000, but we'll get to that later. Regardless of you plan on installing solar panels on to your home, the way Evergreen Solar is making solar panels is a great example of how new technology is making solar more cost effective, and basically green is getting greener. Check this out. Ah, the beach, who doesn't love it? The ocean, the sun, the sand, I bet you didn't know that everything you need to supply power to your whole house is all right here. The sun is the source of solar power so that's easy, but the most popular material used to make solar panels which capture that energy is silicon, and believe it or not; silicon is made out of sand. These little silicon pellets used to be grain of sand that have been exposed to extreme heat and carbon. Ian Gregory: Silicon and sand are abundant in the world. Nobody anticipates that in the making of solar panels we're going to run out of silicon in the same way that unfortunately we will eventually run out of oil. Carter Oosterhouse: These pellets are melted down into a red-hot pool of liquid silicon inside this high-tech machine. Two hot wires are secured about three inches apart, and pulled up ever so slowly to the pool of liquid silicon using the principle of "surface tension". As the wires pull the molten super thin silicon up and out into the air, it cools, and the thin ribbon of silicon you see here is formed. This production process unique to Evergreen Solar uses much less energy in the panel's production, than many other solar companies, and if you're trying to help the earth save as much energy as possible, why not do it right? Ian Gregory: People want to invest in solar energy because it's clean, because it's good for the environment. It doesn't help it in creating the solar panel, we use this much energy in creating it as it if it ever generates in its lifetime. Carter Oosterhouse: This machine is totally automated so when the ribbons of silicon get to the top of the machine they are cut to the exact size. Once they pass an inspection, one side of the wafer is sprayed to get the positive charge. So they are basically like batteries, one side has a positive charge and the other side has a negative charge. There is a misconception with solar panels that you have to live in a very warm sunny climate in order for them to work, not true. Most solar panels are made to work when they see white. Cold climates are actually optimal. Now, if you were to put only one of these cells up on the roof, it wouldn't be powerful enough to do much. So, they connect a bunch of cells together to create a panel. To protect it from rain, wind and other elements, the solar cells are sandwiched between a layer of textured glass and a polymer backing. These binding materials help the panels last and hold up for years. Truth is, if you plan on standing your home from a couple of years, solar power probably isn't for you. It's a great long-term investment that's getting more and more cost effective, as many energy company offer rebates and a lot of states offer tax credits. Now, if the thought of going solar is a little overwhelming for you, start small. Solar lighting on your yard, maybe on a pool, solar heating, the point is, think solar first. And there is a lot more information on this site, so keep clicking around, thanks for coming.