The How, Why, and Many Uses for Solar Energy

There are many uses for solar energy. It is rare to find solutions that satisfy the pro-environmental groups and are cost effective for common public consumption. Solar energy is one of those rare technologies to reach this state where it is a win-win solution for everyone. With almost unlimited supply of energy from the sun, you are looking at a long term sustainable source of energy.

Today the sun provides us with enough energy on the earth’s surface to supply us with about 1000 Watts/sq meter. This is an enormous amount of energy at our disposal, and eventually as we find newer and better ways to tap into this energy we’ll be able to meet all our planet’s energy needs from this single source. The device that makes all of this a reality is the solar panel. The solar panel helps is tap into the many uses for solar energy.

If you have used a solar powered calculator (and who hasn’t) you can understand how a solar panel looks. It’s the same concept blown up to a much larger scale. The panel is a series of framed photovoltaic cells that convert the light into electric energy. The electric power is used to charge the batteries. Logically, these cells will trap energy during the day time and at night when there is no natural light the batteries will power the electric appliances and devices in your house. Modern panels are highly efficient and can trap enough energy for the whole night even if it’s only been exposed to the sun during a cloudy day.

This is not a new technology. For years, satellites have relied on this source of energy that sustains them for decades as they orbit our planet. Today you have everything from traffic signs, road signs and host of other commonly used things that are running on solar power. Now new car models are getting into the act. It is clearly one of the most “happening” technologies today.

It is not just for lighting needs alone. Solar power is great for heating applications too. With the right kind of panels, you can harness this limitless source of energy for many different needs. However, the key to all these great ideas is the solar panel; without the panel, you can’t tap into solar energy.

Solar energy comprises two energy forms: light energy and heat energy. The photovoltaic cells are used to trap the light energy and transform it into electrical energy. For heating applications reflectors are used to harness heat energy. The heating panels are typically more efficient and less expensive making them the most popular solutions today. Solar cookers are a classic example of the heating based solar panels.

The best part about solar panels is that they can be obtained in any shape or size. It really depends on where you want to put up your solar energy panel. The heaters have reflectors that can be used to heat liquids for various purposes, or heat water and in case of steam generators; the heat can also generate steam.

In a bid to go green, many nations are promoting and encouraging the tapping into the many uses for solar energy. You get financial assistance and other benefits if you adopt this solution. With support from government and extensive research, over the years, solar panels have shown a dramatic improvement in quality and efficiency. Aluminum based panels in parabolic designs are highly effective solutions.

With rising fuel prices, it is expected that a one time significant investment in solar power would really reap large benefits both economic and environmental. With energy price pressures steadily pushing upwards, people will slowly reduce the reliance on fossil fuels. This will increase the need for renewable sources like solar power. There are many uses for solar energy. With the cost of solar panels going south and adopting this technology is a no brainer.

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