There are many ways to use solar energy, but first a quick lesson about “Solar Power, which is described as the creation of electricity straight from the sun. The generation can be direct with the use of PV or photovoltaics or indirect via CSP or concentrating solar power. CSP is done by using the energy of the sun to focus and boil water which will eventually create solar power. Solar power has the capacity to give more than 1000 times the total world energy consumption back in 2008. However, solar power only comprised 0.02% of the total in 2008.
If solar power will be used double every 2 to 3 years, it can become the dominate source of energy for the century. The biggest solar power plants, are concentrating solar thermal plants, although new multi-megawatt photovoltaic plants have also been created.
More and more countries are investing in the bigger photovoltaic power stations, like Germany and Portugal.
More Solar Power
Terrestrial solar power is a predictable and intermittent source of energy, which means even though solar power is not readily available all the time, people can still predict it using a certain degree of accuracy when the energy source will or will not be available. A number of technologies, like the solar thermal concentrators, include an element of thermal storage, such as molten salts.
These come in the form of heat and are considered as store spare solar energy that can readily be made available overnight or at times when solar power is not available to create electricity. Orbital solar power collection also avoids the intermittent use, although satellite launching and beaming of the gathered power are required to get antennas on Earth. The enhanced intensity of the sunlight over the atmosphere also tends to boost the generation efficiency.
About Solar Energy
Solar energy, heat and radiant light that emanates from the sun have been controlled by humans beginning the ancient periods using a wide range of evolving technologies. Solar radiation, together with secondary solar-powered resources like biomass, wind, wave and hydroelectricity are accountable for majority of the available renewable energy on Earth. Only a small fraction of the available solar energy is utilized.
Solar powered electrical generation depends on photovoltaics and heat engines. The uses of solar energy are only limited by human ingenuity. Some of the other uses of solar energy include space cooling and heating via solar architecture, solar hot water, solar cooking, potable water via distillation and disinfection, daylighting and high temperature process heat for industrial functions. Solar panels are one of the most effective and basic ways to gather solar energy.
Type of Solar Energy
Solar energy is present in different kinds. This is categorized according to the manner of conversion, as well as the type of energy that it gets converted into. It is important that you learn more about the types so that you can see how much energy you will need for your setup. The levels and features will also differ based on the type. Knowing the categories will help you determine if it is wise to pick a certain system or not. Here is some more info.
The First Category
The first way to view solar energy will depend on how the energy is transformed into useful energy. There are a couple of types in this category—passive solar energy and active solar energy. Passive solar energy describes the harnessing of the energy of the sun without the need for mechanical devices. You can use windows that face south to give you natural light and additional heat for the home. There are many solar applications that a homeowner can rely on to get the most benefits out of passive solar energy like passive cooling, passive solar heating and daylighting.
Active solar energy involves the use of mechanical devices in collecting, storing and distributing solar energy inside the home. Pumps, for example, are used in active solar energy water heating systems to circulate the water through the system. There are plenty of solar applications that a homeowner can use to get the most out of active solar energy. Included are active solar space heating, active solar pool heating and active solar water heating.
According to Energy Type
The second means of viewing solar energy relies on the kind of energy that it converts into. There are 3 kinds that belong in this category namely photovoltaic solar power, solar thermal energy and concentrating solar power.
Active solar space heating is done to heat the air within the house. It uses mechanical tools and equipment like fans, pumps and blowers to help people gather, store and distribute the heat all over the home. The systems can be air-based or liquid-based. Liquid-based systems involve the use of large water tanks or thermal mass for the storage of heat. Distribution is managed through radiant slab systems, hot-water baseboards and central forced air systems. Air-based systems involve rock bins or thermal mass that hold the heated air for storing. The hot air is circulated within the home using blowers and ducts.
About the Energies
Solar thermal energy is the energy made by transforming solar energy into heat. There are plenty of solar applications that a homeowner can use to get the many benefits of solar thermal energy, such as solar space heating, solar pool heating, solar water heating and solar thermal cooling. Photovoltaic solar power is described as the energy made by converting solar power into electricity via photovoltaic solar cells. There are many solar applications that homeowners can take advantage of using photovoltaic power like solar electricity, photovoltaic solar lighting and photovoltaic cooling. Concentrating solar power or CSP is used to create solar power electricity.
The Use of Passive Solar Energy
There are two kinds of solar energy according to how the energy is converted. Active solar energy is defined as creating energy with the help of mechanical devices. Passive solar energy does not require the use of mechanical devices and provides you the advantage of getting energy nonstop and in a more cost-effective manner. Passive solar energy is further divided into different categories. Here are some more tips and guidelines on the kind.
There are a number of principles that you have to keep in mind to take advantage of passive solar energy fully. The applications will rely on the specific location and climate you belong to. Orientation refers to the positioning of the home so that you get most of the sun’s rays to heat and minimize the impact for cooling. Shading is vital in managing the natural light and temperature of the home.
Shade can be given by other structural elements. Insulation refers to keeping a warm home during the winter and a cool house during the summer. Thermal mass refers to heat storage during daytime and its release after the sun is gone. The windows will make sure that the home stays comfortable any day of the year. Ventilation refers to maintaining the cool inside the home during extra hot days.
Passive Solar Heating
Passive solar heating belongs to the category of solar space heating. The heating process can be done by orienting the home well so that most of the windows face to the south. The windows should be sized properly too, so that optimal heat gain will be attained. The home has to be insulated to reduce loss of heat. Passive cooling is a kind of solar cooling. The main idea behind passive cooling is to reduce the impact of the sun by orienting the landscape and the house so that you get the most benefits out of cool breezes.
The home also has to be designed to reduce barriers to air paths through the home to let natural ventilation in. You need to use the right type and size of windows to reduce the heat during extra hot days. Landscaping and structural features can be used to make shade. The home also has to be insulated well to keep the right temperature.
Daylighting is a kind of solar energy lighting. It is described as the use of natural light to illuminate the house. Good daylighting provides the right light to all your rooms, while minimizing costs in utilities and electricity. You can daylight the house well by sizing and positioning the windows so that natural light freely enters the home. You should also use exterior shading that will diffuse the light.
Passive solar energy is considered as a natural and very cost-effective way to maintain your home. You can save so much in the long run and expect to have the right light and temperature inside your home for years to come. Talk to experts on how you can install the right elements.
Should You Invest In Solar Energy
Solar power is quickly gaining popularity all over the globe. It is growing at a rate of 2% per year, and if the figures continue to grow, solar energy will be the preferred source of energy worldwide. Most modern nations are encouraging people to rely on this renewable resource so that they can save more and help conserve the environment. The trend can continue to provide benefits for decades to come if well-maintained. Here are some more tips and tricks.
First, you have to consider your current location. Are there a lot of clouds or does it rain or snow frequently? How much sunlight do you get per day? Some locations are very ideal for installing solar cell panels, while other people may do better with an electrical or battery source. Places that get around 4 to 6 hours of sunlight per day at least can do well with a solar energy system. Preferably, tropical and desert areas should start investing in a solar energy system to get the most benefits. Determine the angle of the sun to know which spots are most ideal for installation.
Are there any available hardware stores that offer the needed parts for your solar energy system setup? Will ordering online be easy and convenient? Are there agencies or professionals who can offer reliable and quality services to install and maintain the solar cell panels. Are the materials affordable and of good quality? These are some questions you need to consider to get the best deals. Ordering online will depend on your location and the mode of transportation. If you think that setting up and maintaining the system will be difficult, it might be better to wait until the technology is more rampant in your area.
Solar cell systems are generally costly in the beginning. Later on, you will realize that the costs will start to go down, since the energy stemming from the sun is free and available all the time. You should consider your budget by determining the area that needs to be covered with solar panels. Budget is vital so that you do not go overboard and overspend on things that you do not truly need. You should also consider the gadgets and devices that will be powered via solar means.
A well-maintained solar energy system will last for 30 years if you keep it properly. Other setups may only last for a number of months or weeks at most if external conditions are very harsh or can damage the material easily. You can choose to create your own solar cells or just purchase from a source. The longevity of the setup will depend on the quality of the material, the use and applications. Price does not immediately equate to quality or longevity. You should know more about the available brands and check if there are any differences with regards to feature that will ultimately enhance the lifespan. Ask for recommendations from friends and others who have tried the setup.
About the author: Chuck Brauer is a researcher, investor, marketer, business owner, web designer, I.T Manager, and article writer.