Solar power encompasses a wide variety of areas. For many people, the idea of solar power conjures up images of heating water through the power of the sun, but solar power provides more power than just heat. Solar power also consists of electricity, general heat, and providing light for both home and business use. The areas of solar power are photovoltaic, solar process heating and cooling, and heating water. There are many benefits to using solar energy and it is available for use in both residential and industrial use, regardless of the size or scale of the project. Solar energy is so powerful, that it can be harnessed and used, despite of whether it looks sunny and bright outside. Even on dark, cloudy days, solar power continues to provide the energy needed to operate a number of applications.
Harnessing the power of the sun isn't new. In fact, we use energy
from the sun every day, whether we realize it or not. Plants rely
on solar power, and it is the sun that causes air to move, creating
wind. Earth runs on solar power naturally, and it is one of the
greatest tools that man has at his disposal. Solar power provides
tremendous benefits, and when it comes to using solar energy for
heat, electricity, and for cooling purposes, it is a resource that
is renewable. Other forms of energy can be used up and are irreplaceable,
such as oil and coal. However the sun is a source that we don't
need to concern ourselves with about harnessing too much. Since
solar energy is reusable and renewable, it far surpasses other forms
The history of solar power is vast and dates back to the seventh
century B.C, when the first magnifying glasses were used to harness
the power of the sun and make fire. This technique survived and
during the third century B.C. ancient Greeks and Romans also used
mirrors to create fire from the sun's rays. Early citizens in the
first century A.D. understood that they could use the sun combined
with architectural structures for heating purposes. Windows facing
the sun was a prevalent element of early design. By the sixteenth
and seventeenth century, scientists were harnessing the power of
the sun for cooking, and powering engines. Solar electric energy
had been realized. Solar power can be divided into separate categories.
These include photovoltaic, active and passive solar, and solar
thermal energy, solar lighting, concentrating and experimental solar
power, and solar chemical. Learn
how solar panels work.
Photovoltaic is the use of a solar cell that converts the sunlight
into an electrical current. First developed in the late 1800's,
the science of photovoltaic has revolutionized the use of solar
power. Today, photovoltaic technology is used by a number of different
markets for many purposes. Abbreviated as PV, photovoltaic holds
great promise for future energy applications, as it has no harmful
effects on the environment. Photovoltaic means light and volt refers
to electricity. The science behind photovoltaic is converting solar
light into electricity. The crux of PV is the solar cells. Each
cell functions as a semiconductor and the cells can be joined together
in a number of different ways. The size and amount of the cells
that are combined will determine how much electricity is produced.
When these cells connected, they create an array that forms a module.
There are many different types of modules and they are the backbone
of a PV system.
It is the photovoltaic system or devices that determines the function
and scale of your PV solar power. There are three main materials
that are used as semiconductors in solar PV cells. These are silicon,
polycrystalline, and single crystalline. With so many options to
choose from, it's no wonder why so many people are choosing to switch
to solar power for their electrical needs.
Another feature of solar power is solar heating. Heating that comes
from solar energy can be used to heat pools, homes, and water heaters.
Many people are choosing to switch to solar heating due to the fact
that it is cost efficient and offers a reliable, renewable source.
The strides that have been made in science have created tremendous
advances in the capabilities of solar power, heating, and energy.
Since solar heating is such an affordable alternative to other forms
of energy, the Untied States offers many incentive programs for
those who are willing to switch to solar power. Solar heating is
used for pools, water heaters, and can even be used to provide heat
directly to a home or building.
Another type of solar power is referred to as concentrating solar
power, or CSP for short. CSP is the concept of concentrating, or
focusing, solar energy to make sure that it is high powered and
strong. Concentrating solar power requires the use of power plants
that store the solar energy, allowing solar power to be readily
available whether the sun is shining or not. This makes it easy
to have solar energy on demand by converting the energy into electricity.
Solar water heating functions by using what is called a solar collector.
The collector is located near the pool or other body of water and
collects solar energy. They usually work in conjunction with either
electric or gas heaters but are very cost efficient. Another type
of solar power is solar lighting.
Many people wonder if they should switch to solar power. There
are many benefits to using solar power but the first and foremost
reason is that solar power is free. Your cost is in your initial
system. Most find that the initial system pays for itself within
one or two months of service. Another reason why solar power is
more beneficial than other sources of energy is due to the fact
that there are no harmful by-products or pollution that is a result
of the energy you are using. This is not only better for the environment
as a whole but also reduces the amount of pollution that is in your
home as well. Solar power is changing the way the world uses energy,
from lighting and heating to electrical applications.