Green energy guide
When we talk of clean energy, renewable energy and sustainable energy they are usually considered to mean the same as green energy but strictly speaking there are differences. Clean energy does not have to be renewable as long as it is non-polluting. Renewable and sustainable energy does not have to be non-polluting, just replaceable indefinitely. Even green and clean energy are not the same. Clean energy may be non-polluting but can have undesirable effects on the environment, an example is hydro power, the energy is clean but the environment may be damaged by building dams.
Green energy is energy that is non-polluting and renewable.
The two most cost effective forms of green energy are solar power and wind energy.
Solar power is generally considered to mean electricity generation using photovoltaic (PV) cells. In theory a PV cell with an area of one square centimeter can make one watt of electricity from sunlight but this is not possible using current technology. The best commonly available PV cells have an energy conversion efficiency of less than 20 percent.
The most efficient solar cells are made from thin slices of silicon called wafers. Solar cells can be compared to battery cells except that they only provide a current when exposed to sunlight. Just as battery cells can be connected together to provide more voltage, so solar panels are composed of PV cells connected together to provide the desired total voltage then sealed between sheets of glass and plastic to make them weatherproof. The solar panels can also be connected together to increase the total voltage and current.
The electricity generated can be used directly by connecting the solar panel to the device to be powered, for instance a DC motor but the preferred method is to use the solar power to charge up a battery which is then used to power a device.
A Solar Charger is usually a small self contained unit made up of solar cells and internal battery used to power small devices like mobile phones and digital cameras. In a typical unit the solar cells are not separate but form part of the units casing containing charging circuits and wiring to charge the small batteries inside. (A solar panel kit like the Solargorilla may look like a solar charger but it's a portable solar panel because the battery is a separate unit)
A solar charger can power a device while it is collecting solar power or the charge stored in the internal battery can be used later. Solar chargers are well suited to the power requirements of small devices like mobile phones that require a voltage of less than 6 volts but larger, more power hungry Laptops cannot be recharged by them because the voltage and amps from the solar charger are too low.
The latest solar chargers have eco-friendly internal Li-Ion batteries, these are not damaging to the environment because they don’t contain toxic heavy metals unlike the Ni-Cads. Depending on personal taste and size and power capacity you may choose from any of the Sresky solar chargers for mobile phones
Portable solar panels
The popular 12v folding solar panels provide portable power for campers, caravans, RVs or anywhere you need stand-alone power. Available in power rating from 20 watts up to 200 watts these kits are very popular due to their clever design consisting of two hinged solar panels and an attached solar regulator, all in a tough carry bag. The kits are very robust with stainless steel hinges and anodised alloy frames. All you need is to connect it to a storage battery to get free solar energy when you go bush or camping, so before you buy check out these high quality Australian made solar panel kits.
Wind generators (also called wind turbines) provide electricity by connecting a generator, similar to those used in vehicles, to a shaft containing rotor blades much like an old style aeroplane propeller. The force of the wind spins the rotor to generate electricity. The generator is technically an alternator because it generates AC electricity. The AC electricity is converted to DC electricity and then used in the same way as that from solar cells, so it can also be used to charge up a battery. In fact it’s common to have a dual power generating system made up of both wind generators and solar panels.
Hand-crank (dynamo) power LED torches
Although we don't put tis in the same league as solar or wind power it nevertheless is a reliable means of producing power for smaller appliances like radios, portable lights and phone chargers and torches that use hand-crank to recharge the torch, very useful when camping or just to keep as a backup torch for emergency lighting. This is just a variation of hydro power and steam turbines on a much smaller scale.There's no reason to believe that is not possible to obtain substantial amounts of energy this way,