How Does Solar Energy Work?
Solar energy has gained popularity in recent years, primarily because it offers a clean alternative to electricity from fossil fuels. Using solar energy is a win-win solution to our polluted planet, creates jobs for the many, and most importantly, saves money. But how does solar energy work? Well, here is a detailed guide on solar energy.
What is Solar Energy?
Solar energy comes from the sun. The sun produces enormous power from its core. Out of this energy, only a fraction of the billion parts produced hit the earth’s surface. Experts say that a single day of sunshine provides more power than all the fossil and coal deposits in the world. Well, this implies that solar energy is reliable for all lighting, heating, and electricity generation.
Most of the energy produced by the sun remains unutilized and reflects into space. Plants and animals utilize a fraction of their sunlight needs. Another fraction of the solar energy evaporates water from oceans, lakes, and rivers which then condenses and becomes rainfall. The larger part of the sun’s rays remains unutilized. It is this energy that the world should embrace the production of renewable energy, and most importantly, to combat global warming.
Ways of Utilizing Solar Energy
Use of Photovoltaic cells
Solar energy gets utilized through solar panels and inverter. The solar panels usually placed on rooftops tap sunlight and convert the energy into direct current or what people refer to as electricity. The process of converting solar energy into the direct current is facilitated by the photovoltaic cells found on the solar panels.
When you plug any appliance on the wall sockets, they utilize alternating current. Ideally, the inverter which comes as a component of the solar panel converts direct current into the alternating current. With this method of utilization, power from the sun often gets stored in a solar battery. The direct conversion of solar energy into electricity is mainly standard in small residential areas.
Use of thermal capture
It’s impractical to use solar thermal capture systems in a small scale setting because of the economic viability. There exist three forms of thermal capture as explained here.
Low temperature solar thermal system
The system mainly aims at heating and cooling of a home system. For instance, the system applies to buildings that utilize passive solar for heating and cooling. Ideally, the design of such premises is such that, sun’s rays are allowed into the buildings when the heat is needed. When a cooling effect is required, the rays of the sun get blocked from penetrating the living areas.
Mid temperature solar system
This method mainly applies to home water heating systems. The system works in a way that heat collectors placed on the rooftop transmit the energy into your piping system, thus heating the water. That way, any time you need warm or hot water, you don’t have to use conventional heating systems which are often expensive to maintain.
High temperature thermal solar system
For this method, you use mirrors to focus the sun’s rays on tubes containing a fluid. Once the liquid is heated, it retains the energy and is then used to heat water into steam. The steam is then able to turn turbines and generate electricity. Large scale solar energy producers mainly use the method.
People have embraced solar energy over the years. The energy is not only clean but can also help you save a lot of money. All you need to do is determine your energy needs and choose a solar installer to match you with the right product. The best thing about using solar energy is that it’s freely available and reliable.