Solar Energy

All the energy we use comes from the sun. Solar Energy is energy from the sun. It is the cleanest and most abundant renewable energy source available. This energy, in the form of heat and light, touches the earth to also help produce coal, oil, and natural resources. These nonrenewable resources and finite, they will run, and its use is contributing to climate change.

We can harness the power and potential of the sun directly. We use solar technology to harness this energy. Solar energy is used to generate electricity, provide light, and heat water. It is one of the best alternatives to fossil fuels and allows the owner to reduce their electrical bill.

Solar Panels on a home.

A common solar technology is flat -plate collectors that is commonly used for solar water heaters and heating homes.These panels requires a lot of space and some roofs are not big enough to fit the number of solar panels the owner may want.

Video: What is solar energy?

The sun’s energy is harness in three ways: photovoltaic, solar heating and cooling, and concentrating solar power.

Photovoltaic generate electricity directly from the sunlight via an electronic process.
It is used for powering homes and business.
Solar water heaters come in a wide variety of designs. They all include a collector and storage tank.

Though solar energy is free, harnessing this energy is not cheap. Its high cost of collection, conversion, and storage still limits it exploitation. Converting solar energy to thermal energy requires a large collection area, about 40 square meters or 430 square feet to gather enough energy to serve the energy needs of one person. It also requires a batteries to store energy off the grid for night use.

Can we rely on wind and solar energy?

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How Solar Panels Work

Solar power plants collect sunlght energy in a wide area onto a small blackened receiver. There is an array of carefully design mirrors or lenses to capture the sunlight. The heat is used to operate electric generator power plants.

Discussion Question

Nonrenewable resources, like petroleum and coal, are burned to get most of the energy we need. Renewable resources, like wind or sunlight, can also be used to produce power. Which type of resource is a better source of energy? Explain your answer.