The sun is the major source of energy and all other forms of energy, whether from burning biofuels or harnessing the wind, they are all indirectly related to the sun’s heat and light. However, while this may be so, solar energy technology only deals with any technology that can turn the sun’s heat and light directly into a usable form of energy. This is why a lot of people prefer to install a solar system for home; that can meet all their energy needs by utilizing the daylight hours.
The energy from the sun is turned into a usable form in two ways – either by using it to generate heat or by converting it into electricity that can then be harnessed. There are various solar energy companies in Africa, Europe, India and the Americas that engage in research and development to improve the efficiency of existing technologies and come up with more.
Types of solar energy and available technologies
There are two basic ways to categorize solar energy. One is based on how it is converted into useful energy. The second is the type of energy it is converted into. There have been various advances in technology and the solar energy technology does not consist of just photovoltaic cells anymore.
Looking at how solar energy is converted, it is classified into two categories as follows:
- Passive solar energy
This is the harnessing of solar energy without using any mechanical devices and examples are having windows situated such that natural light and heat can be enjoyed.
- Active solar energy
Various mechanical devices are used in active solar energy to collect, store and distribute energy. From solar panel to battery, all the new advanced technology falls under this category.
The three categories of energy when taking into consideration the type of energy that solar energy is converted into are as follows:
- Solar Thermal Energy
This is the use of solar energy in order to produce heat. There are various applications of this technology, from solar space heating, water heating, pool heating and even solar thermal cooling. It is a fact that over 14% of the energy use is spent in thermal applications – offsetting these by using solar energies will help greatly in cost reduction.
- Photovoltaic Solar Power
This is the most commonly used type – the conversion of solar energy into electricity. The applications are in solar electricity production and various lighting systems. All top solar energy companies provide various devices using this technology. Since the cost of installation has greatly decreased, it is becoming possible to meet most energy demands through solar panels.
- Concentrating Solar Power
This is a type of solar thermal power where solar-powered electricity is generated ultimately. This technology is generally more favorable for large-scale use since they take a long time to install and build and require more space. The solar energy here is concentrated onto a collector that heats up a liquid; the steam hence produced is used to turn a turbine and create electricity.
Each energy derived and powered by the sun. So let’s not let the energy from the sun go to waste and quickly switch power efficient way with Eastman solar solutions.