What is Solar Energy?
What is solar energy and how does it work? Learn how energy released from the sun in the
form of thermal (heat) and light energy can recharge your batteries, power your appliances and even your home!
It's really quite amazing how solar power works. Energy released from the sun makes up a large portion of the electromagnetic spectrum which contains many forms of light energy, including visible light, ultraviolet light, and infrared light as well as others that we will discuss in another article.
The most important component of solar energy involves the photon which is the smallest possible packet of light energy. Photons have an extremely tiny mass, yet approximately 4.5 lbs. of sunlight strikes the earth's surface every second!
What Can We Use the Sun's Energy For?
Harnessing this alternative energy source means we could power appliances in our home, portable gadgets that we take everywhere we go, and even heat the water that we shower with and wash dishes with every day. Can you imagine using the sun to cool your refrigerator or power your air conditioning unit? You can!
It's amazing to think that people across the world use the sun's power to cook their meals or keep the refrigerators that house vaccines at a controlled temperature. The possibilities for using this powerful and renewable energy source are nearly limitless as researchers and scientitsts continue to discover new and inventive outlets.
We can use solar energy to power:
Solar Energy Feeds Us and Warms Us
Solar energy provides a great deal of energy to the earth's surface. Some of this is captured by plants and some organisms to carry out the process of photosynthesis.
This process is responsible for all of the human race's food production needs, including direct intake through vegetable and fruit processing and indirect intake through livestock and wild game consumption.
Solar energy also causes the movement of wind across Earth's surface as well as the convection of ocean currents and the storage of thermal energy in those oceans to moderate Earth's atmospheric temperatures.
Learning How to Use This Gift!
Even with all these important things being "fueled" by solar radiation, a large proportion of energy from the sun is simply reflected back to space without being used. Imagine the amount of work that could be done with some of this energy if we capture it and convert it to other energy forms!
Scientists say that there is enough energy from the sun that comes to the Earth each day to fulfill all of our energy needs. In fact the Earth gets more energy from the sun in a single hour than our entire population can use in a year! We just need to learn how to use it!
In answering the "What is solar energy?" question, we ultimately want to know how much does it cost? The important thing concerning solar energy is this: IT'S FREE. Of course, this statement can be a bit misleading. The initial setup of any system in which to collect solar energy will cost something.
One of the biggest challenges to figuring out how to utilize the sun's energy efficiently is learning how to capture it so it can be used for cloudy or rainy days. Some strides forward with this type of technology have been made, but there's still so much more we need to learn and to put into practice.
Whether it's an old black barrel of rain water in which you collect passive solar energy to redistribute to a shop building, or an elaborate solar panel array on the roof of your house, the need to make a purchase as well as put in time and labor is there. How much you wish to spend depends entirely on what you want or need in a solar energy collection system.
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How Does Solar Energy Work?
How does solar energy work? Solar power is a term we often hear in relation to going green, being environmentally friendly, and saving money. Solar power is actually what you have after the power in the sun's rays have been converted to electricity.
How is Solar Energy Used?
How is solar energy used? Learn eight ways to use solar energy affordably, and which types of solar power are available to bring clean energy to your home.
How Solar Power Works
Have you ever wondered how solar power works and how it could be used to help you defray the cost of powering and heating your home? It's quite easy to understand once you know the basics of how the sun's energy is harnessed and then put to work in your home or garden.
Solar Power, How it Works
Solar power, how it works. That's a pretty complex question, and here are some simple ways to understand indirect and direct solar energy, passive and active solar and the difference between photovoltaic and solar thermal energy.
What Is Solar Energy?
What is solar energy? Solar energy is the energy released from the sun in the form of thermal heat and light energy.
Solar Energy for Kids
We've created this special page about solar energy for kids in hopes we can answer some questions you might have about solar power and renewable energy. Perhaps you will even find some helpful tips on how you can help your family go green!
What is Concentrated Solar?
Concentrated solar power or CSP systems are used primarily for commercial applications and have been used for more than 30 years, however they do have some drawbacks.
New Solar Ideas
Solar Jobs, Grants & Training
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