Solar energy is a clean alternative renewable energy, unlike fossil fuels that pollute the environment, threaten our health and contribute to global warming.
As an extremely rich energy source, solar is the energy of the future.
In the broad sense, solar energy enables life on planet Earth and is the basis for almost every energy we use.
The sun encourages plants to grow, which we can later burn as biomass, if the plant mass wears off to rot in the swamps and underground for millions of years, producing coal and oil.
Sun heat causes temperature differences between areas, producing wind that drives windmills.
The water evaporates due to the sun, falls in the form of rain, returns to the rivers and the sea and during its movement triggers hydro turbines.
However, the term solar energy usually refers to the direct use of solar energy to generate heat or electricity.
All coal, oil and natural gas reserves together are equal to solar energy that reaches Earth in 20 sunny days.
One-third of this light is reflected into space, and some of it is also absorbed in the atmosphere. Deserts, with very dry air and low cloud cover, receive the most solar energy.
The sun’s energy varies during the seasons, with some areas receiving very little sunlight during the winter.
For the production of electricity and thermal energy, solar panels and solar collectors use only a certain part of this energy, depending on their efficiency.
Passive solar energy
One simple, obvious way to harness the sun’s energy is by lighting and heating our apartments and business premises.
If designed properly, facilities can accept the heat of the winter in winter and reduce their acceptance in the summer while using sunlight to illuminate throughout the year.
Objects designed in this way utilize passive solar energy — a natural resource for renewable energy.
Simple adjustments when designing an object, such as correctly orienting the object to the south, installing most windows on the south side of the building, installing skylights, awnings, and trees that will make shadows are techniques for harnessing passive solar energy.
Facilities designed with particular reference to the use of solar energy can be comfortable and beautiful places to live and work.
Thermal solar collectors
Thermal solar collectors are devices that collect solar energy and convert it into thermal energy.
There are three types of collectors: most commonly used solar collectors, selective solar collectors, less commonly used, they receive only rays of a given wavelength and can reach higher temperatures than planes, and there are concentrating solar collectors, their principle is to the surface of the sun’s rays collect and direct to small areas of the receiver.
Solar collectors are installed on the roofs of buildings to collect solar energy for space heating, water heating, and room cooling.
The heat obtained from solar collectors can also trigger the cooling system.
In desiccant evaporators, heat from solar collectors is used to extract humidity from the air.
When the air gets drier, it also gets colder. The warm moist air is separated from the cold air and ejected outward.
Conventional refrigerators and air conditioners operate on this principle. Solar collectors can also be used to heat the pool.
Solar power generation systems
These systems can be solar power plants, that is, a technological system that uses solar energy and converts it into electricity in several stages.
Solar panels are devices made up of solar cells — smaller devices that convert solar energy into electrical energy through the photoelectric effect.
The energy produced by a solar panel is called solar energy, and photovoltaic cells collect light from other sources, so the light source is not just the sun, they can also be used as an electromagnetic radiation collector.
Most solar panels are used for standalone photovoltaic systems, providing electricity to remote households, transmitters of mobile operators, roadside signs, water pumps, and millions of solar clocks and digits.
Developed countries see solar panels as a way to avoid building long and skimpy transmission lines to remote locations.
More recently, thanks to the lower prices of solar panels, strong initiatives, and advanced systems for measuring electricity consumption.
Energy solar panels have begun to be increasingly installed in grid-connected solar systems and are thus becoming more prevalent in households, offices and other facilities already connected to the electricity distribution network.
Photovoltaic systems have a wide application, from use to very small systems such as clocks, digits, through smaller tourist boats and individual households isolated from electricity sources to large systems connected to the electricity grid.
Solar water heating systems can compete economically with conventional systems and the eventual tax breaks that some states give them to make it even more affordable.
Renewable energy solar could play a bigger role in overall electricity production and greater energy independence.
Also, solar energy reduces dependence on fossil fuels, reduces air pollution and thus combats global warming.