These are some basic facts about solar energy that may inspire you to learn more about the many ways now available to use this clean renewable alternative in your own daily life!
Solar Power - How it Works
Solar energy is a natural form of renewable power that comes from the sun. The sun releases energy naturally through both light rays and heat. Sunlight is a renewable energy source because we will not run out of solar energy like we will one day run out of the oil or coal that we are currently using as our main sources of energy.
There are some challenges to using solar as a power source. While it is plentiful, it is not consistent. You know for yourself that some days there is a lot of sun, but other days there is little sun. Although the sunlight itself is free, harnessing and storing solar power can be expensive. The good news is that it is getting cheaper and becoming more affordable for the average person to be able to use solar.
How is Solar Power Used?
Energy from the sun has been used since the beginning of time by humans, animals and nature. Think about how we use the sun everyday. We use it as a light source and in the summer months, it serves as a heat source, too. Animals use it the same way. The sun provides plants with the energy necessary for them to grow and reproduce. The sun heats our oceans, rivers, lakes and streams, helps movement of wind.
Technology has now made it possible for us to use the energy of the sun in our own homes, both to power appliances and gadgets, and also to serve as a main power source. Solar panels capture the solar energy and store the energy so that it can be used to operate your home. Solar energy can also be used to heat water instead of using a traditional water heater.
Types of Solar Power
There are two types of solar power that are used in residential and commercial settings. These are known as passive and active solar.
Passive solar is the raw energy that comes directly from the sun. It can be used in its natural state as light and heat, and can be used to heat or cool a home. In this state it is also used by plants for the process of photosynthesis. Passive solar energy does not require the use of mechanical devices to operate.
Active solar is captured and stored energy which is generated through the use of solar cells and solar panels. This allows it to be used in many different applications. Active solar can operate generators, engines, panels, appliances and portable devices that are designed to use solar energy. Nowadays almost anyone can use solar power in some form, as solar technology is even being used to recharge batteries and to power home appliances.
The Future of Solar Power
Solar energy has been a rather slow growing power source. This has mostly been due to the costs associated with manufacturing the solar panels needed to help make it useful in homes and businesses. The good news is, costs are going down now and technology is advancing to help make solar a more viable and usable energy source.
With the depletion of fossil fuels and other non-renewable energy sources, our world needs new options for sustainable and renewable energy. Solar energy is so plentiful, so powerful, and so useful that it definitely has a place in the future to be one of our top energy sources!