Let’s learn about the different types of Solar Energy! Many households, businesses, and organisations are turning to solar energy to generate sustainable energy while also saving money on their energy costs. Most of us are familiar with the appearance of photovoltaic panels, and we understand solar energy to be energy generated by sunlight reaching photovoltaic panels.
However, both in terms of setup and types of solar energy, there is a lot more to solar energy. This article will explain the many types of solar energy so that our readers may make more informed decisions about the sort of solar energy that they want to have put in their houses.
The most common types of solar energy
Photovoltaic systems, or solar systems for home/office/etc., are one of the most common ways to use solar power. They produce energy directly from sunshine. The basic principle behind this technology is comparable to what we see in solar-powered clocks or calculators! Solar panels can now absorb and convert the majority of visible light and nearly half of the ultraviolet and infrared light spectrums into energy.
Several of these solar arrays would be necessary to supply adequate electricity for a family, but hundreds of arrays would be required for a big electric utility or industrial use, and they would be interconnected to form a single, massive photovoltaic system.
Thin-film solar cells
Furthermore, thin-film solar cells, which use layers of semiconductor materials only a few micrometres thick, can be used with this technique. As a result, solar cells can now be used as roof shingles, roof tiles, building facades, or glazing for skylights or atria, maximizing the usage of available space where sunlight can be harvested.
Solar water heating systems
Another kind of solar energy is solar hot water, which, as the name implies, involves heating water using the heat of the sun. The concept is inspired by nature: shallow water in a lake or on the shallow end of a beach is usually warmer than deeper water. This is due to the fact that sunlight can heat the bottom of the lake or shoreline in shallow locations, which in turn heats the water.
As a result, a system has been designed to mimic this: solar water heating systems for houses are composed of two components: a solar collector and a storage tank.
A flat-plate collector, which is positioned on the roof and faces the sun, is the most popular type of collector. Small tubes run through the box, carrying the fluid to be heated — either water or another fluid, such as an antifreeze solution. The fluid passing through the tubes is heated as heat accumulates in the collector. The hot liquid is subsequently stored in the storage tank.
Solar power plants
Solar electricity is a third technique to capture the sun’s power for energy; it is typically employed in industrial applications. Most power plants, as most of us are aware, require nonrenewable fossil fuels to boil water.
The steam from the boiling water causes a big turbine to rotate, which activates the generator, causing electricity to be produced. Because of the emissions of greenhouse gases and air pollutants from the combustion of fossil fuels, this method of generating power is harmful to both the environment and our health.
Passive solar heating
Passive solar heating and daylighting is another approach for harnessing solar power. The sun’s impact is simple to understand: step outside on a warm bright day and you can feel the sun. Buildings, with right design, may also “feel” the sun’s energy.
South-facing windows, for example, will receive more sunshine, and buildings can feature materials such as sunny floors and walls that absorb and retain the sun’s heat.
These materials heat up during the day and gradually release heat at night, when it is most needed. Other architectural elements, such as a sunspace, which resembles a greenhouse, concentrate a lot of heat, which may be used to heat an entire building with proper ventilation. Such qualities maximise not only direct gains from the sun’s heat, but also direct gains from the sun itself. Even better, there are techniques to ensure that these elements do not overheat buildings on very hot days.