There are currently three ways to secure domestic power from the sun: passive, active and photovoltaic
• Passive solar energy is achieved by designing and planning your home to maximise the heat created by the passing of the sun each day. By carefully positioning windows, doors and skylights, you can keep your house warmer and lighter, without the use of electrical power.
• Active solar, or solar collectors, heat water by pumping it through black, vacuum piping, or a flat, black panel that is positioned for maximum sun exposure on your roof. The water in the piping is heated by the sun, providing hot water for bathing, showering and washing up. Hot water is stored in an insulated storage container until it is needed. You may need to switch to another source of power to heat water on cloudy days, or face the prospect of a cold shower.
• Photovoltaic panels generate electricity through the use of photovoltaic cells, which convert sunlight directly into electricity, which is then stored in large batteries. There are a variety of photovoltaic systems on offer, varying in size and price. These systems are quite expensive, at present but with improving technology and increasing levels of demand, prices are steadily decreasing.