Solar energy is a renewable energy source coming from our primary energy source of the Sun. Solar energy arrives in the earth as the sun radiates. The sun generates energy from the process of nuclear fusion. Energy from the sun is essential for many natural phenomena and the existence of life on the earth. Solar energy is also used as an alternative energy source in many industries.
With the development of technology, humans use solar power to get electricity, thermal power. Solar comes as an environmentally friendly solution to provide benefits for commercial or residential needs.
Solar panels and harvesting the solar energy
1. Photovoltaic solar energy
Photovoltaic solar systems are made up of solar panels and several components to convert sunlight into electricity. photovoltaic systems or PV systems are a collection of solar cells producing the direct current that is converted into the alternating current. PV systems are popular technological systems. Meanwhile, most countries such as the USA, China, UK are constructing large-scale solar farms to increase solar capacity which provides electricity domestically and industrially.
2. Concentrated solar energy
CSP is a system that generates thermal energy from the sunlight by the usage of mirrors and lenses. It concentrates a large area of sunlight into the receiver to get thermal power which is useful for rotating turbines by steam. This system best suits most countries that receive very high levels of sunlight.
3. Water heating solar energy
Countries that have warmer, sunnier conditions are more likely to benefit from the water heating solar energy type. In the area where sunlight with higher intensity, water heating can be extremely cost-efficient. Commonly this technology uses a sun-facing collector which is painted with black color to absorb more heat from the sunlight.
Maintaining a warm pool is an expensive solution when electricity is used. Solar pool heating systems reduce the cost by providing heat energy from the sun.
Other uses of solar energy
- Artificial photosynthesis – for mimicking photosynthesis in laboratory conditions
- Distillation – providing heat for distillation reactions and extract pure water
- Salt industry – for evaporation of water to make salt
- Solar ventilation – the sunlight is used to preheat the air used in ventilation systems
Solar energy for natural phenomenon
Provide energy for the Process of Photosynthesis
Photosynthesis is the main process of producing food in green plants. Green plants do this process as the main nutrient providers on earth. Heterotrophs such as animals depend on this food directly and indirectly. They fulfill their energy requirements from the food that contains energy from the sun.
During photosynthesis energy of the sun provide energy to react water with carbon dioxide. This solar energy of the sun is absorbed by the chlorophyll pigments inside the green leaves. This is the major natural process of storing solar energy.
Beneficial effects of solar energy
- Solar energy is a free energy source
- Constructed solar systems are safe and highly reliable
- Cost-effective when the application is in commercial and residential places
- Environmentally friendly energy source
- Solar systems can be expanded according to the demand
Circumstances of using solar energy
- Require expert knowledge in technology
- Often expensive in the market
- Limited time to collect solar energy from the sun
- Factors such as shading, cloudy weather limit exposure to the sunlight