The first time i came to know about Solar Energy was after watching the movie “Race the Sun”. It was a story about low- income and under achieving Hawaiian students encouraged by their teacher to join the Solar Car race. In the movie, a car shaped like a cockroach and covered with solar panels used the sun’s rays as an alternative energy source to run the car.
The energy produced from sun’s light and heat is known as solar energy. Solar energy is not only a free source of energy, but its also unlimited in supply. There are no air and water pollution caused about by using solar energy. But there is still some impacts on the environment although indirect.
The efficiency of sun’s heat energy used as solar power for homes can be maximized with the use of daylight systems. This system helps in replacing the artificial lighting, by providing internal illumination of homes. Sawtooth roofs, Light Shelf’s, Skylights and Light Tubes are all different types of Daylight systems. Daylight systems when they are properly implemented can reduce lighting-related energy consumption by 25 percent.
Solar energy can also be developed into solar thermal technologies which can be used for water heating, space heating, space cooling and process heat generation. Solar energy can also be used to distil water and make saline or brackish water potable or drinkable.
Photovoltaics or PV is the method used to convert sunlight into electricity. PV has been mainly used to power small and medium-sized things like a calculator powered by a single solar cell. There are homes powered by photovoltaics. Using solar energy for water and space heating is the most widely use application of solar energy. While ventilation and solar air heating is also growing in popularity.
Although there are lots of benefits for using solar energy, but solar energy efficiency still has some downside. Its disadvantage being that it does not work during night time. Although the cost of setting up a solar plant runs high, but the benefits are much more than the initial setting up costs.
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