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Alternative Energy Overview | Solar | Geothermal | Radiant

Alternative energy sources for your home

Alternative energy sources are resources that are constantly replaced and are usually less polluting. They are not the result of the burning of fossil fuels or splitting of atoms. The use of renewable energy is contributing to our energy supply. Some alternative energy sources are: geothermal, hydroelectric, solar, wind power, fuel cells, ocean thermal energy conversion, tidal energy, and wave energy.

Geothermal energy uses heat from within the earth. Wells are drilled into geothermal reservoirs to bring the hot water or steam to the surface. The steam then drives a turbine-generator to generate electricity in geothermal plants. In some places this heat is used directly to heat homes and greenhouses, or to provide process heat for businesses or industries. Reykjavik, Iceland is heated by geothermal energy. Most geothermal resources are concentrated in the western part of the United States. Geothermal heat pumps use shallow ground energy to heat and cool homes almost anywhere. With technological improvements much more power could be generated from hydrothermal resources. Scientists have been experimenting by pumping water into the hot dry rock that is 3-6 miles everywhere below the earth’s surface for use in geothermal power plants.

Solar energy is generated without a turbine or electromagnet. Special panels of photovoltaic cells capture light from the sun and convert it directly into electricity. The electricity is stored in a battery. Solar energy can also be used to directly heat water for domestic use (solar thermal technology). The domestic photovoltaic (PV) industry could provide up to 15% of new U.S. peak electricity capacity that is expected to be required in 2020.

Wind energy can be used to produce electricity. As wind passes through the blades of a windmill, the blades spin. The shaft that is attached to the blades turns and powers a pump or turns a generator to produce electricity. Electricity is then stored in batteries. The speed of the wind and the size of the blades determine how much energy can be produced. Wind energy is more efficient in windier parts of the country. Most wind power is produced from wind farms—large groups of turbines located in consistently windy locations. Wind, used as a fuel, is free and non-polluting and produces no emissions or chemical wastes. Wind-powered electricity is gaining in popularity.

Visit our Alternative Energy pages above to learn more about how Country Comfort can help you!

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