Solar power is starting to become mainstream. The “green” movement has taken hold and we are beginning to see its accomplishments. Solar panels are used commercially, industrially, and residentially. Unfortunately, it is still quite expensive to install and it can take a while to see the savings, though be sure they are there.

If you would like to show your support for the green movement but aren’t fond of the spending required to make your house green all at once, consider do-it-yourself solar projects for use in your home. You can slowly make your house “greener” and get a new hobby at the same time. You can purchase solar kits and cheap panels to install yourself. Maybe you’d like a solar water heater or just enough electricity from solar energy to power your computer and other electronics. Look around online to find fun projects to help the green movement and make a difference starting in your own home.

There is a growing market for commercial solar power. Solar power can generate massive amounts of electricity, depending on the style of solar power system that is used. Commercial solar power systems are very good investments; they are much more cost efficient than home solar power systems and pay themselves off more quickly. One type of successful commercial solar power is a solar thermal plant.

Solar thermal power plants work very similarly to normal power plants, but they use solar energy instead of combustion. In a solar thermal power plant, heat from the sun is used to heat a liquid to high temperatures. That liquid then travels through pipes and transfers its heat to water. The water changes state to become steam and the steam is converted into mechanical energy by a turbine. The turbine is connected to a conventional generator and electricity is produced.

Solar thermal power plants have been in use for years, though you may never have run across one. The largest solar power facility in the world is located in the Mojave Desert and has been in operation since the 1980s. Of course, the Mojave Desert gets a lot of sunlight, so it is the ideal location for a solar power plant. However, smaller versions of the plant could be set up in other areas that receive a reasonable amount of sunlight. The long-term benefits would certainly outweigh the initial cost of creating a solar thermal power plant.