Uses of Solar Energy
The use of solar power technology is a relatively new development (although for centuries people have used the sun to help dry food and clothing) with a variety of different uses and techniques for generating and storing energy.
An increasingly popular use of solar power in the domestic environment is through the installation of solar panels which are sometimes called photoelectric, photovoltaic or simply PV cells. These are often large banks of solar panels or cells that are installed on a south facing roof which harness the sun’s rays and turn them into electricity to power the home if the system is off grid or feed the power back into the national grid if the home is on-grid (this way the home owner can actually get paid by the energy companies because they are selling power back to the energy companies).
A fascinating cutting edge use of solar panels is their use on satellites orbiting the earth. The solar panels on satellite help to power the craft and allow us to receive important communications such as mobile phone signals, satellite TV, satellite navigation systems and help with complex weather forecasting. On a smaller scale you will see often see solar cells employed in such things as batteries and devices that can be used to charge devices such as mobile phones or even solar powered radios!
Solar water heating is a popular way to save money on heating bills through the installation of glass panels full of water which are housed on the roof. The sun then heats the water through the glass and as a consequence the householder does not need to use as much gas or electricity to heat water for domestic use.
The use of solar power is often used in lighting. For example, there are photoluminescent products that can be used to store the suns energy over time and use the energy to power a light or lights. You may have seen this before as it is a common feature of many garden lights.
There is no denying that solar power is definately a major power source of the future given that our natural non-renewable sources such as coal, natural gas and oil only have limited reserves left. With additional funding and research, solar technology could become an increasingly important method of fulfilling our daily energy needs around the world.