Solar Energy and its Many Uses

Environmental changes demand a new alternative energy source:

In today’s world, global warming and climate changes are becoming more and more apparent and people are getting more environmentally conscious. Alternative energy sources like solar power, wind power, wave power and geo-thermal energy are fast growing in popularity. Of all these alternative energy sources, solar energy is the undisputed leader in the forefront. Solar energy is the energy from the sun. The sun has been in the sky since the dawn of time, and its power has been utilized by man in many ways since the ancient times. The sun provides us with warmth, helps our crops grow, and gives us light throughout the day. Man has been able to use the power of the sun for many purposes including cooking food, preserving foods and fruits like meat, fish, apricots, chilies and many spices. Man has been able to strategically use the sun’s rays to his own advantage for indoor lighting, for heating water and even homes. Today, the suns says are able to provide us with another major necessity, electricity.

How can solar energy from the sun be harvested?

The earth’s fossil fuels are fast being utilized by man to power our lives; alternate means of electricity generation for example through solar energy are the answer for us. Solar energy can be collected by using solar panels or photovoltaic panels. These panels use solar energy from the sun, and convert the energy it to Direct Current electricity by making use of solar cells, which are made of photovoltaic material. This photo voltaic material can actually make electricity out of sunlight due to the photodiode effect.

What are photovoltaic panels?

Solar panels or photovoltaic panels generate electricity from solar energy by creating a semiconductor photo voltaic effect. After exposure to light, for example when exposed to the sun’s radiant energy, solar cells within the solar panels are able to create direct current electricity. Photovoltaic material present in the PV panels is actually responsible for this effect. This material may be copper or alloys of copper or even made of other silicon based materials. In recent years, photovoltaic panels are being manufactured in large quantities due to the growing demand for solar energy as an ideal source of renewable energy. These panels can be installed on almost any device and even on the roofs of homes and buildings to act as secondary, and in some cases, even the primary source of power. Solar cells are capable of producing direct current electricity from solar energy and the current can be used to power almost anything. The advantage of PV panels and solar energy over other forms of renewable energy is that PV panels can be made of almost any size and can fit a wide range of appliances. They can be small enough to power cells of a wrist watch, and even a calculator and large enough to be installed in industries to act as a secondary source of power or help with many industrial processes.

Uses of PV panels:

PV panels are being used for many purposes today, from being built in into homes and buildings, to powering street lights in parks and villages all over the world, solar energy is gaining popularity as an ideal source for generating electricity. Not only does it help save tremendously on electricity bills, but it is also environmentally friendly. PV panels are also a onetime installation and usually require no maintenance at all. Here are some major uses of PV panels:

Photovoltaic panels integrated into homes and buildings:

Photovoltaic panels are mounted on the roofs of homes and buildings to collect solar energy and are also being integrated into newly constructed buildings to provide homes with a secondary source of electrical energy. Photovoltaic panels can power homes, but can also be mounted on the lights in the streets and parks around the world. On street lights, PV panels are responsible for absorbing solar energy from the sun all day and then use the same energy to power the lights during the night.

Solar houses:

Solar energy is also used in heating, lighting, ventilation and air conditioning in homes. Many houses are under development, where solar lighting, ventilation, heating and cooling is integrated in a unique solar design package that is based on the use of solar energy and PV panels. Solar equipment such as fans, pumps and windows with switches are designed to complement the solar design package. This innovative design incorporates the use of solar energy in a unique way that enables the home owner to not depend on grid stations or power stations to power homes, rather solar energy becomes the main source of energy. Each solar house design has its own set of photovoltaic panels to provide electricity, thereby reducing the need for power plants and grid stations.

Providing electricity to villages:

In the developing world, many villages don’t have electricity at all. The reason for this is that the grid stations that provide electricity to the urban population are many miles away from the rural villages. With such tremendous distances between the cities and villages, many villages don’t get any electricity at all. Solar energy for these villages is the ideal source of alternative energy that uses solar power to provide electricity to homes and other buildings in the villages.