Solar Energy and its Applications
Energy from sun can be categorised in two ways: in the form of heat and light. We use the solar energy every day in many different ways. When we hang laundry outside to dry in the sun, we are using the solar heat to dry our clothes. Plants make their food in the presence of sunlight. Animals and humans get food from plants. Fossil fuels are actually solar energy stored millions and millions of years ago.
There is variety of products that uses solar energy. These products are called solar devices (or appliances) or solar thermal collectors. Solar thermal technologies uses the solar heat energy to heat water or air for applications such as space heating, pool heating and water heating for homes and businesses. Let us look at the applications of solar energy in different sectors.
Solar Energy and its Applications
- Residential Application
Use of solar energy for homes has number of advantages. The solar energy is used in residential homes for heating the water with the help of solar heater. The photovoltaic cell installed on the roof of the house collects the solar energy and is used to warm the water. Solar energy can also be used to generate electricity. Batteries store energy captured in day time and supply power throughout the day. The use of solar appliances is one of the best ways to cut the expenditure on energy.
- Industrial Application
Sun’s thermal energy is used in office, warehouse and industry to supply power. Solar energy is used to power radio and TV stations. It is also used to supply power to lighthouse and warning light for aircraft.
- Remote Application
Solar energy can be used for power generation in remotely situated places like schools, homes, clinics and buildings. Water pumps run on solar energy in remote areas. Large scale desalination plant also use power generated from solar energy instead of electricity.
Solar energy is also used for public transportation such as trolleys, buses and light-rails.
- Pool heating
Solar heating system can be used to heat up water in pool during cold seasons.
What Does the Future of Solar Energy Look Like?
Solar energy has certainly made some huge milestones in the last decade. Ten years ago, the global solar industry was fairly tiny and heavily reliant on government incentives and subsidies in solar-centric countries and states like Italy, Germany, and California. Today, we are looking at a huge solar capacity in the neighborhood of 120GW, rolling off the back of plummeting costs of solar panels and innovations in solar technologies, especially in sunnier states like California, where solar has become one of the cheapest sources of power.
Looking forward, it’s apparent that solar is going to become even more affordable, reliable, and accessible. According to industry pundits, solar could be the most prominent source of electric power in most parts of the world by 2030 and by then solar costs would be more than halved. That’ll result in an ancillary benefit for our planet and may as well help us curb climate change.
Future innovations will be centered on the advanced application of solar energy, especially how to better incorporate solar technology into your power systems, businesses, and homes. That means increasing use of low-cost, solar-powered electronic technologies and more advanced power electronics.
All in all, harnessing solar energy will reach the cost-reduction levels that make it an unrivaled source of renewable power compared to oil, gas, and other fossil fuels. In other words, the future of solar energy is bright and it’s going to be a massive win for everyone.
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