Posted on: April 18, 2021 Posted by: admin Comments: 0

Solar energy can best be defined as light transmitted from the sun, which can be used for solar heating, solar photo voltaic’s, and solar water heating. Solar energy also can be referred to as radiation energy that can be used for everyday human needs such as electricity, heat, and building technologies. Let us look at these different types of solar energy we use today.

  • Solar Heating – There is many variations of this type of heating in use today. As we strive for new means of heating our homes and business, there comes along solar heating. Heating our homes by means of reflective metal or mirrors is a reality. By heating outside air using the energy from the sun we can redirect the heated air through duct work like a forced air furnace basically works. This means of using the power of the sun is a simple way to heat our homes during day light hours, subsidizing our energy cost.
  • Solar Voltaic – This use of the sun is becoming the most popular way to generate electricity versus other means that use our planets depleting fossil fuels. Through the use of solar cells which are made into solar panels we can produce environmentally safe energy. A solar cell or solar photovoltaic cell is a solid state electrical device that converts the suns light energy to electricity. A group of these cells form a solar panel that collects the solar light energy from the sun to produce electricity. A group of solar panels needed to power a house or business is called a solar array. There are other components used to make up a solar panel system which involve changing the current to useable household current but this will give you an idea of how a system is designed. Other uses of this type of technology is used in such devices as solar yard lights, solar exhaust fans, and photo eyes used to control outdoor lighting.
  • Solar Water Heating – Solar water heating has been used for many years by many European countries and is well established as a viable means of heating water. There are basically two types of systems in use today, a closed system, and a system that pumps the hot water. First, let us look at the closed loop system that has a capture tank mounted above the radiant coils, usually mounted on the roof. By using a series of tubes facing the sun the water will heat and be moved to the storage tank by what is known as “thermo siphoning”, which is the same principle as hot air raising. By using our existing water pressure the tank mounted on the roof will feed when needed my turning on a faucet. The system which uses a small pump to circulate the water can be mounted just about any convenient location facing the sun. This is what is known as an open system because of the use of an external or auxiliary pump. The holding tank for this system can be mounted at ground level. This system is used mainly for larger systems needing more water storage.
  • Solar Architecture – The use of building design where walls, windows, and floors are made to collect heat from solar energy is called passive solar building design. This type of building design does not use mechanical or electrical devices. House can be designed to store heat in the winter and reject heat in the summer. The principle of this solar design is to position windows facing south during the winter sun, and to have shading during the warm summer months. This type of construction is mainly for newer homes but can be applied to or adapted to existing homes and businesses. All this can be achieved by the use of stone, concrete, and tile to produce what is known as thermo mass.

There are many other new discoveries being used to harness the power of the sun, one which I did not mention above but involves the use of a large magnifying glass concentrating solar energy on a spot, producing very high temperatures. The use of this type of heat is almost endless.

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