An Overview of Solar Cells Through The Years

An Overview of Solar Cells Through The Years

When solar cells first came on the scene in the 1950s, they were simple. Now, there are a wide variety of cells and more are coming as technology improves.

An Overview of Solar Cells Through The Years

Solar cells are the basic component of any active system used to convert sunlight into a form of energy. Traditionally, solar cells were used as the key part of panel systems that generated electricity or heat for homes. These days, the technology is used in a wide variety of applications, which means the style of solar cells vary per application.

A traditional solar cell consisted of some very basic pieces. The cell was typically a flat square made up of a glass or plastic panel attached over a crystallized silicone substance. The silicone was imbedded with metal wires. The process worked by having the sun strike the silicone, which kicked off neutrons. The neutrons produced a small electrical current that was collected by the wires. The electricity was in the form of direct current, which had to be converted to usable AC electricity with an inverter. The electricity was then stored in batteries or fed into the grid of the local utility company.

The problem with the first solar cells involved efficiency. To be frank, there was not much. Initial cells converted sunlight at a rate of one to six percent. More energy was lost in the conversion from direct current to AC. It worked, but was so inefficient that huge collections of solar cells were required to make enough energy.

As technology improved, the components of solar cells became more efficient. A silicone base was still used, but modified to convert more spectrums of the sunlight. As efficiency rose, the cost of using solar cells dropped because less where needed to form a panel. Still, efficiency was in relatively low, making the systems cheaper but not really cost effective compared to buying power from a utility.

These days, referring to solar cells is somewhat misleading. Much of the new technology is abandoning the traditional concept of cells. Instead, companies are thinking out of the box and coming up with entirely new platforms. Options include nanotechnology whereby quantum dots are developed to covert the sun to energy. When fully developed, the dots will be part of the paint you use on your house. Technically, you can call the dots cells, but they are not in the traditional understanding of the term. Other options include the use of Germanium as an alternative to silicone, but this hasn’t been fleshed out as of yet. Thin solar cell technology is also popular, but involves the basic pieces of a traditional system.

Solar cells used to be fairly uniform with silicone, glass cells being the standard. The future of these solar cells is dubious, however, as companies seek out dramatic leaps in solar technology. In 30 years, we will look back at traditional cells like we now look back at the horse and buggy means of transportation.

A Chocolate Lovers’ Party

A Chocolate Lovers’ Party

Your Very Own Chocolate Festival

Salon Du Chocolat, Chocolate Lovers’ Festival, Eurochocolate, Chocolate Rush, Garfield Park Chocolate Show, Ghirardelli Square Chocolate Festival, these are just some of the best chocolate festivals celebrated all over the world. And they are usually attended by hundreds of thousands of chocolate lovers like me. They flock to these events to view and taste fantastic creations from world-renowned chocolatiers and take pleasure in chocolate inspired activities.

The joy and fun you will experience is doubled when you attend this festival of merriment in the company of your chocolate loving friends. You will surely get crazy eating loads of chocolates of different kinds and sizes. Now, you do not necessarily have to spend a lot of money to go to these festivals why not think of having a chocolate party in your place? You can be an expert party planner to make this happen, all you need is a little help and some flickers of ingenuity!

Start with the Menu

Don’t force a sit down, four course meal. Do it just like you would on a regular barbecue Sunday. Serve grilled chicken, pork chops, pasta, and mashed potatoes, anything you are familiar with! Now, the simple chicken pieces and pork chops can be made magical by adding chocolate inspired sauces like mole, a Mexican, chili-chocolate essential. Round it up with chocolate deserts such as chocolate cakes, pastries and don’t forget to serve a pile of different kinds of chocolates. Make sure to have tons of them because you will be using them on games and other activities, anyway! You don’t need to buy those expensive gourmet chocolates, just grab the regular ones, your favorite brands – unless the gourmet chocolates are really what you’re going for.

If you want to serve fondue, then prepare fondue matches like marshmallows, pretzels and fruits. Research on wines that would go well with chocolates and keep the idea for the party! And last of all, max out on a variety of drinks that could help clean your guests’ palates.

Stage the Grandeur

Take out your best linens. If you have chocolate designed-linens, that would be great! You can line two or three tables with them. One table will be for eating and the other for chocolate and wine tasting. It can also be a place where you can display desserts that fellow choco lovers may want to indulge in anytime they want to while in the party.

Decorate your party area by incorporating chocolate brown colors in your design. Set the sound system and make sure you have great happy music to match the ambiance. And finally, make sure that your programme is ready along with the materials that you would need in games or activities.

Make the Chocolate Party Fun

Here’s a list of things that you can do at your chocolate party aside from chocolate and wine tasting. You may choose one or few of them, at least whatever is possible and could easily be done without having to spend so much.

1. Game – Who Can Eat The Most Chocolates?
2. Chocolate Painting – where you use chocolates and your hands to draw pictures
3. Stage an exhibit on the history of chocolates, print pictures and put them on display so everyone could have a look and learn while having fun
4. Chocó Poker – Use chocolate pieces as chips. Your guest may take home whatever chocolates they can win.
5. Bake-off Challenge – Who Can Make The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie?
6. Special cooking demonstration – learn a new chocolate recipe and share it with friends

It’s so simple, right? You don’t have to wait for a special occasion to throw a chocolate party! Being a chocolate lover is reason enough. But if you want to make your birthday, Thanksgiving, reunion or any get together fancier let the chocolate lover in you come out and let your loved ones experience a feast that was originally made for gods and kings!

Basic Guidelines for Cleaning Vinyl Siding

Basic Guidelines for Cleaning Vinyl Siding

One needs less maintenance when making use of vinyl siding on your homes. However, at one point, you will be confronted with the task of cleaning it. It is not that difficult, but would definitely take a good deal of your time. Doing this on your own will save you money, and will be a good way to evaluate the current condition of your vinyl siding.

Cleaning vinyl siding is usually done by making use of a pressure washer or a power washer. One may buy one, or if possible rent one. In cleaning vinyl siding, use a mild soap or detergent if it is not that dirty yet. There are also detergents or cleaning solutions that have additives to help prevent problems as mold or mildew.

Wear safety equipment as eye protection and gloves prior to the cleaning of your vinyl siding. It is always better to be safe when doing such activities. Watch out for windows and doors during pressure washing. It is advisable to properly seal these portions. And be careful as well not to hit the ground as these may contribute to bringing dirt back to your sidings, and will mean a lot more work for you.

When cleaning vinyl siding, make sure to start at the upper portion and then going down to the lower sections of the structure. Doing so will ensure that you will be doing your cleaning on a smooth and organized manner. You won’t have to go back and forth with your cleaning.

Cleaning vinyl siding with green copper stains can be done by using a solution that contains oxalic acid and hot water. The granules for this acid can be bought at hardware stores. A ¾ pound of the acid granules mixed with a gallon of hot water would be ideal mixture. With your rubber gloves on and using a sponge, apply this solution on the stain and let it stay for around five minutes. After which, you may then scrub it off with the sponge or a non-abrasive cloth. Repeat the process as necessary.

Using a solution of bleach and water will do the trick when treating mold stains. For rust stains, there are special detergents available in the market today, specifically applicable for use in cleaning vinyl siding. Read the instructions carefully, and follow as per directions.

Cleaning vinyl siding by pressure washing and with the appropriate cleaning solutions will help keep these in good condition. By doing so, your vinyl siding will begin to look clean and new again.

Add a Dynamic Design Accent to Your Home with the Right Staircase

Add a Dynamic Design Accent to Your Home with the Right Staircase

Stairways are a wonderful thing. They suggest a path to things unseen, hidden destinations, secret lives. If you have a multistory home or are planning to build one, take a few minutes to think about the stairs. By choosing to include a beautiful stairway instead of a mundane one, you can change your home atmosphere from ordinary to extraordinary. Whether you choose filigreed iron, steel, glass, or traditional hardwood, the right stairway for your home can serve as a compelling design accent, the focal point of a room, at once utilitarian and beautiful.
If you have an urban industrial loft, you may be thinking of taking one large, high-ceiling room and creating a number of living environments on different levels. If so, you’ll be incorporating a bunch of staircases. You may even be lucky enough to have an existing industrial staircase made of rugged steel. If so, you have a decision to make. Are you aiming for a high-tech industrial look, with stainless steel commercial kitchen appliances and exposed electrical and plumbing elements on the ceiling? Then your steel staircase fits right in. If you’re looking to emphasis natural colors and textures, however, a sort of Zen retreat, you might want to incorporate the natural beauty of hardwood stairs into your design. A straight, sturdy staircase leading to the upper levels can make a powerful statement; a curving stairway winding around the center of your loft adds elegance and a feeling of flow to your environment.
Historical homes, particularly in the eastern U.S., almost demand the inclusion of hardwood stairs. Your antique home may have a staircase in need of repair, or the existing staircase may need replacing. Either way, you’ll need the services of a company specializing in custom-designed staircases. In fact, whether you’re creating your own unique home or restoring an antique home, custom designed and built staircases are a must because of the exacting nature of the measurements required.
When you go looking for a company to build your staircase for you, make sure you choose a firm with an experienced staff of designers. A designer should be willing to visit the site, take the appropriate measurements, and present you with design suggestions and advice on materials and costs, as well as troubleshoot the site and the design for possible problems.
They also should be willing to supply you with detailed photographs of their work for other clients. Who knows? You may find inspiration in these photos and use them as a jumping off point for your own creative ideas.

Impress With Great Birthday Party Invitations

Impress With Great Birthday Party Invitations

My philosophy in life is simple: if you are going to do something, then take your time and do it well. This goes for almost everything you do. If you are going to cook a meal for your family, than cook a great meal. If you are going to get in shape, then take your time and make a great fitness plan that meets your needs. In the same way, if you are going to throw a birthday party for a friend or family member, than take your time and make it an extra-special birthday party. Start with sending great birthday party invitations.

Birthday party invitations are important because they are the first piece of a party that anyone sees. People will be much more likely to get excited about your party if they receive a unique and exciting birthday party invitation. A great birthday party invitation sets the stage for the quality of the birthday party. Great invitations usually signify a great party, just as boring invitations give a clue to the level of excitement a party will have. If you’re like me, than you think in themes for a party. Think about the honored guest of the party. Use their likes or dislikes for the theme of your party. Make sure that all of the details of the party fit who the person is. Your birthday party invitations can be the first step of making your theme come alive. No amount of attention to detail is too much when you are planning a party for someone you care about. Let the birthday party invitations reflect the person you are throwing the party for.

 

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Don’t go for normal birthday party invitations. Go out of the ordinary and choose unique and creative birthday party invitations. You and each person who receives them will be glad you did. If you have the time and energy, consider making homemade birthday party invitations. There is nothing as unique as something that is originally made by you.

If you’re looking for ideas, pick up a couple of magazines. See what ideas you can get for color combinations, texts or ways to decorate your birthday party invitations. Starting with other ideas will help you to move quickly to your own. Use other peoples’ creativity to spark your own.

Birthdays are special events. Let everyone know just how special they are by sending great birthday party invitations.

Sprucing Up Your Garden With Solar

Sprucing Up Your Garden With Solar

Fountains are a popular addition to most landscaped yards. Solar fountains give you the benefit of traditional fountains without running up your electrical bill every month.

Sprucing Up Your Garden With Solar

Mention solar power and people get an image of large, bulky solar panels on the roof of a home. This stereotypical view is really incorrect as large panel systems are now going the way of the dodo bird. Current solar technology is all about small size and unique applications. Heck, they even make them for kayaks now.

Solar fountains may sound like a fairly complex landscape addition. They really aren’t. Solar technology has advanced to the point where most landscaping items are now best run on solar technology. This includes solar lighting used for paths, overhead lighting, bird deterrents and general ambience.

At their root, solar fountains are incredibly simple pieces of machinery. The solar aspect of the piece is simple the power generation for the pump. Practically all solar fountains look the same as regular fountains. The energy source is simply a small panel system either connected directly to the fountain or placed in a location that gets plenty of sun. The type of system is dependent upon the amount of flow you want to move with the pump.

Solar fountains range from incredibly simple to complex applications. You can buy floating solar pads that you simply put in a pool. The panels look like black pads and power a small pump that sucks content out of the pool. More sophisticated solar fountains include entirely contained systems as well as systems that move massive amounts of the pool from low points on your property to higher areas where gravity takes over. There really is something for everyone in this area.

Much like solar lighting, solar fountains are a cost saving addition to your landscaping and provide soothing ambience. Plenty of quality models exist, so give them a look.

Building A Deck For Your Hot Tub

Building A Deck For Your Hot Tub

Many today want to install a hot tub on their existing deck, if your deck was not built will the weight consideration of a hot tub chances are your existing deck will not support a hot tub even though a hot tub may only weigh 400 to 500 lbs they may hold 300 gallons of water a 7 pounds per gallon or and additional 2100 pounds add that to the weight of the tub and add the weight of the occupants you can see the weight per square is quite high. In most cases you deck can be redesigned to hold a hot tub by adding extra support check with your local building department or a qualified person to make sure the chances will support our new tub.

Today there are many choices in deck materials from the traditional cedar and redwood, to pressure treated pin and the new man made materials. The most cost effective of these choices is the pressure treated pine there are three levels of treatment and it is measured by the amount of preservative per cubic foot f lumber the bottom of these is the above grade or ground use at .15 to .25 lbs per foot use this rating for pieces that will not be in contact with the ground. The next level is for pieces that will or might be in contact with the ground and they are rated at .40 pounds per square foot, the highest level which is for below grade is rated a .60 pounds per square foot, 4 x 4’s and 6 x 6’s are generally have a .60 rating.

Most people prefer the natural woods like Cedar and Redwood these are the most expensive and do have some drawbacks if they are used for the decking they can easily be scratched while moving furniture for example they will also turn grey unless you stain or preserve them a good pressure washing will bring back the natural look.

The new generation of deck material is man made composites these are generally made of recycled products such as wood and plastic these are a little more expensive than pressure treated pine but t will last much longer the drawbacks are it will get dirty much like vinyl siding but again a good pressure washing will bring it back to life the other common complaint about the composites is that it gets hot even with a small amount of sunshine.

No matter what type of material you use for constructing your new deck be sure to check with a professional in deck design to guarantee that your new deck will support that new hot tub.

Mr. Handyman

Mr. Handyman

First thing Saturday morning I decided to fix the washing machine. This decision had not been reached lightly. The cold water pressure was weak so I had checked with two experts at work (i.e., they had both owned washing machines at one time or another) and determined that it was a sticky solenoid. I grabbed my toolbox and told my wife what I was planning.

“It’ll be fixed in ten minutes,” I explain as I head down to the basement. Meanwhile, she is looking up the number of a ‘24 hour emergency plumbing service’ and entering it into the speed-dialing function of the telephone.

“Shouldn’t I call the plumber?” she asks, making it obvious that she doesn’t understand men. Of course, she has her reasons – I’ve had some bad experiences. In fact, I’ve yet to tackle a home improvement project that has actually improved the home.

But today I was feeling confident. I carefully removed every screw from the back of the washing machine only to discover that it still wouldn’t come off. So, using the largest screwdriver I could find as leverage, I applied gentle pressure until suddenly there was a god-awful screech followed by two loud snaps and the back of the washing machine flies off like a cork out of a champagne bottle and smashes against the concrete wall with a thud that shakes the house.

I hear the basement door open above me. “Should I call the plumber?”

“We don’t need a plumber, everything is going according to plan,” I assure her.

Of course, I’m not exactly sure what the plan is. The back of the washing machine is filled with enough wires and hoses to launch the space shuttle and I have absolutely no idea where to begin. So I slowly begin removing parts, looking for anything which might remotely resemble a solenoid, which is a cylindrical object which can be magnetized (I looked it up in the dictionary).

Every hour or so the basement door opens. “Should I call the plumber?”

Finally, with head held low, I humbly tell her, “It’s time to call a plumber.”

Personally, I believe I was on the verge of figuring the whole thing out, but I could tell that she was starting to get nervous. A short time later Mr. Smarty-pants Plumber arrives and views the carnage.

“What the hell happened here?” he asks in disbelief.

I tell him the only thing that pops into my head. “Vandals. We’ve been having some problems in the neighborhood.”

“Must have been a whole gang of them to have caused this much damage,” he suggests and I can only nod my head in agreement.

He continues to review the scene of destruction, occasionally muttering “Hmmm” under his breath. Somehow, I intuitively know that every “hmmm” is costing me an additional fifty dollars.

Finally, Mr. Overpriced Plumber starts putting everything back together again until, like magic, the washing machine is back in one piece and pushed against the wall.

“Exactly what were you trying to do?” Mr. Couldn’t-make-it-as-an-electrician asks as he’s calculating a bill larger than a small country’s gross national product.

I seize the opportunity to show him he’s not dealing with just any goober who walked in off the street. “The cold water pressure was weak,” I explain. “Sticky solenoid.”

“Uh huh,” he responds and reaches behind the machine and twists off a hose. He taps the nozzle against the palm of his hand until a black, gooey glob of sludge oozes out. Then, with a final twist, he reattaches the hose.

“Your filter was clogged.”

Isn’t It Time You Gave The Hall And Stairs A Makeover?

Isn’t It Time You Gave The Hall And Stairs A Makeover?

Giving the hall and stairs a makeover is a job theat most people put off for as long as possible. The job causes disruption throughout the house and takes longer than almost any similar sized room to decorate. In most houses the hall and stairs are central to the home, so it is time to get down to it today.

This is a job that has been waiting for you for a long time, so you might as well do it properly, not just a lick of paint. It is time for a complete and total renovation of this important area of your home. It should be a space in its own right, rather than just a corridor thatpeople pass through.

Planning is the key to this, as it is to any makeover. Visit showrooms and lok at catalogues for ideas. Search the Internet for staircases, to find out what your options are. A unique hallway is achievable for any of us.

Structural features are the first to be decided upon. The staircase is the feature that leaps out at any visitor to your home. It dominates this space, yet the standard staircase fitted by builders is totally unimaginative. You now have the opportunity to start from scratch. Spiral staircases take up less room and are available in every material imaginable, from glass to colored polycarbonate, from stainless steel to timber of every description.

Visit a specialist website to find your full range of options. Some will allow you to design your staircase online, changing the shape, color and materials the staircase is constructed from.

Once you have decided on the stairs, the second structural feature is the front door. If you have a solid timber door, consider replacement with a modern door with glass panels. This simple task will make the hallway much lighter and more spacious. At the same time look at any windows that you could replace.

Internal doors are the next consideration. Most hallways have at least two or three doors in them. This is the time to change them. If you fit glass doors, the hall will be much lighter again.

Lighting is vital in this area. Have you thought of a chandelier? Having more than one bulb will reduce shadows and really cheer up the hallway in the winter evenings. There are thousands of designs from deer antlers to traditional Waterford crystal.

Another lighting option would be wall chandeliers or lights. Putting the wiring in at this stage will save much mess at a later date.

The floor and walls are all that are left. These are less permanent, and will be replaced or recovered more frequently than the structural features above. For the floor, consider ceramic tiles for a sophisticated, while still being practical, look. Carpets are warmer and will soften the room if that is what you are looking for. Timber flooring is another excellent choice, but be careful about fitting laminate flooring in this heavy traffic area. The laminate sheets tend to separate and leave unsightly gaps.

If you do decide on a hard surface for the floor, then you will need some sound absorbing drapes or furniture, otherwise the echoes will be horrendous.

Lastly, what furniture will you put in the hall? This area is best left uncluttered, but it is an excellent place to put a display case designed to show off your collection at its best.

Get The Advice You Need To Sell Your Property

Get The Advice You Need To Sell Your Property

There are so many things that you should know before you are able to be truly successful in selling real estate. Key and prime locations, marketing, and conversion of prospect clients are all elements that you want to master – and these tips can really give you a great edge in learning more about the important elements of real estate selling.

Make a budget for yourself when selling a house. Making a lot of renovations can be tempting. It certainly makes your house a little more desirable to prospective buyers. Even so, you will want to be careful about renovating. Budget yourself. Set a limit on how much you are willing to spend and stay below it.

It is not a wise idea to invest too much into a property you are trying to sell, but you should invest a little to get the place spruced up. Polishing the woodwork and putting on a fresh coat of paint will show any potential buyers that you take pride in what you are trying to sell them.

You are much more likely to sell your home if you do lots of marketing. Your marketing should involve an online listing on the MLS system. You may also want to create a web page specifically for your home. Post lots and lots of pictures, as well as, information about improvements that have been made and links to community amenities.

When you are trying to sell your home, at a fairly low cost, you can give your rooms a fresh coat of paint in a neutral color. This will give your home a look of being recently updated. Plus, it allows you to mention in the listing that it has had some updating done recently. Buyers love to hear that.

To make it easy for potential buyers to picture themselves in your home, good staging is crucial. While most real estate experts advise staging your home with furniture, remember that an empty house is better than a cluttered house. You want your furniture, flooring and wall colors to be modern and neutral so that they suit a wide variety of tastes, and do not detract from the best features of the home.

Either switch out your smoke detectors for a combination of smoke and carbon monoxide, or add additional detectors that are for carbon monoxide only. These are becoming an increasingly important safety feature in your home, and as simple and easy as they are to install, future buyers will still be impressed that you have them in place, and feel better about living there.

You should not rely on placing newspaper ads to get your home sold. This is the computer age and more people rely in the internet to do things. More than 90 percent of all people that have purchased homes in the last few years have done so after finding the homes online.

Don’t lose your head when you encounter a misunderstanding or a confusing manner. Only when you can get the right information and use it correctly can you really master the various elements of selling real estate today. With a highly diverse market, you need tips like these to ensure you remain on the right track to success.