So you want to know how you can save money on your power bill don’t you? That’s why you clicked. Sorry to go all Kanye on you but… Ima gonna let you know the answer, but first I want to tell you a little story.
My boys are a little obsessed with the natural universe at the moment. I’m crediting a few things that have contributed to this. The first being the fact that our youngest son’s preschool has been teaching the kids about volcanoes and showed them a animated recreation on YouTube of Mt. Vesuvius erupting and burying Pompeii. Lots of questions about volcanoes have been asked while I have been driving around with the boys for school picks ups and on the weekend when we are heading out to do something fun.
The next contributing factor is their obsession with Star Wars. The older son is the one pushing the Star Wars angle when it comes to asking questions about galaxies, universes, planets, moons, stars and suns, but the youngest son’s inquisitive nature, much like my own as a child is his driving motivation to ask lots of questions about “what’s out there?”
Recently we were driving along and he asked me about the sun after I used an idiom along the lines of “man that sun is really hot today” which, of course is one part irony to one part hyperbole with a dash of cliché thrown in for good measure. You see, no matter how hot it is on Earth in your neck of the woods right now, the old sun of ours is still somewhere north of 5,500°C, and a little south of 9,950°F. Yes, the sun is hot every day.
The questions came thick and fast…
“How big is the sun?”
“How far away is the sun?”
“How long would it take to go to the sun?”
“Can WE go to the sun?”
I remember telling the boys that the sun was as big as 1,300 Earths, a figure which I kind of pulled from my memory banks having read it recently. I was wrong though as it is actually 1,300,000 times the size of Earth. My memory bank left off those last three zeros. I couldn’t recall the answers of how far away the sun is and how long it would take us to get there, but I do know that I told them that we wouldn’t be going there. Remember those temperatures I mentioned? Yeah… that’s what’s keeping us from going there. I mean, while I do prefer sunny destinations for vacations, I like those places to be about 5,465°C cooler.
One thing I did tell the boys and drew on popular culture once again to jog my memory, the light from the sun takes a little over eight minutes to reach our planet. I know that bit of information based on the title of the debut album from my favourite Australian band Something For Kate; Elsewhere for 8 Minutes. The title was chosen because the lead singer was fascinated by the fact that from the time it leaves the sun until it reaches the earth, the light from the sun is, well, elsewhere for eight minutes.
Like many rational people, the boys think that it’s strange that Tatooine, the home planet of Star War’s Luke Skywalker in the original movie classic has two suns. Although the fact that this fictional planet orbits two fictional suns is the reason that the planet is hot and desert like, there is a positive to having two suns in your solar system. And that’s where we can start looking at the energy savings I know you’re here to find out about.
Although it would make a lot of sense for more of the vehicles in that galaxy far, far away to source part or all of their energy from solar, there are only a few vehicles that do. The first is the TIE Fighter which is a space vehicle Star Wars fans were introduced to in the first movie, now called A New Hope or Episode IV. Unbeknownst to many fans, I’m guessing, the black panels on the wings of these vehicles are actually 12 solar panels which convert the sun’s energy into power to fuel the TIE Fighter’s twin ion engines and low-temperature lasers. The other is Count Dooku’s Solar Sailer which was seen in Episode II, Attack of the Clones.
Now I know that there would be those geeks out there like me who might think “yeah, that’s good and all, but what about when the vehicles are far away from the sun at the centre of the solar system the vehicle is presently in?” I mean, what if Count Dooku’s spaceship was as far away as the distance from the icy dwarf planet Pluto is from the sun that it orbits? There’s not going to be a lot of rays hitting those solar panels now, are there?
But that’s where we are lucky. We don’t have to worry about the “what ifs?” We don’t have to consider the laws of physics of a fictional device in a fictional solar system floating somewhere in a fictional galaxy far, far away.
Why are we lucky? Well, it’s because right here on this real-life planet of ours orbiting a sun in a real-life solar system we can generate solar power to power real-life devices. We can charge our smallest devices like mobile phones via small solar chargers. We can charge solar lighting that stores energy they receive from the sun all day and then illuminate the streets at night. We can power solar cars like the ones we see competing in the World Solar Challenge.
And we can generate power via solar to run our homes and offices.
We are also extremely lucky in Australia due to the fact that we have so much sunlight shining down on us to help with the delivery of solar power. So, it makes sense that so many households are installing solar panels to power their homes. We are also lucky that our governments, both federal and states have had or still do have programs in place offering discounts, rebates and in some cases refunds by way of credits to your energy bill when you start putting excess power that your home generates into the power grid. This is call feed-in tariffs.
You can find out more about how much you can save on your energy bills by installing solar panels by clicking on this link, and you can see if you can take advantage of feed-in tariffs being credited to your account reducing your bills even further.
Please note, this is a sponsored post for Energy Australia but the words and ideas are all my own