Going Beyond the Green Basics with Advanced Technologies
Using renewable sources of energy helps reduce energy bills, emissions, and dependence on fossil fuels. NYSERDA supports the use of renewable energy and the development of next-generation renewable energy technologies, including biomass, wind, solar electric (also referred to as photovoltaic or PV), solar thermal (hot water), and geothermal heating and cooling.
For residents, the first step is to make your home as energy efficient as possible. If you are building a new home, consider building a New York ENERGY STAR® Certified Home. If you own an existing home, consider getting a home energy assessment through the Home Performance with ENERGY STAR Program to evaluate the energy efficiency of your home and begin the process for making necessary energy improvements. By reducing your home's energy usage, you could reduce the size of the advanced technology needed.
Solar Electric Systems
Solar electric (also known as photovoltaic or PV) technology makes use of the abundant energy in the sun and has little impact on the environment. Solar electric systems can be used in a wide range of products, from small consumer items to large commercial solar electric systems. Commonly known as solar cells, individual solar PV cells are electricity-producing devices made of semiconductor materials that are often connected together to form PV modules. Modules, in turn, can be combined and connected to form solar PV arrays. These connected systems integrate easily with existing energy supplies.
Solar Thermal (Hot Water) Technology
Solar thermal technology harnesses the power of the sun to provide solar thermal energy (as opposed to solar electric energy) for preheating domestic hot water.
Wind energy is also solar energy. When sunshine reaches the earth, it heats the surface at different rates, and this uneven heating creates wind. The wind is a predictable resource that is available even after the sun has set. A small increase in wind speed creates a large increase in wind energy. Wind turbines convert this energy into electricity.
Geothermal Heating and Cooling Systems
Even in northern climates, the soil maintains a temperature of around 50 degrees at about four feet beneath the earth's surface. Heat pumps move this heat energy from the soil to the house in the winter and operate in reverse in the summer, pulling heat out of the house and to the soil. Heat pumps installed in energy-efficient homes can use dramatically less electricity than conventional electric heating and cooling systems.