A brief overview of the uses of solar energy
The sun is the source of all life on Earth. Solar energy can be used many different ways. Over the last decade, its popularity has grown exponentially. The growth in the uses of solar energy is often referred to as the solar revolution. Not only is it better for the environment, because it is clean energy, but solar is also renewable. This means that regardless of the uses of solar energy, the sun can never run out.
The sun creates two main types of energy. These are light and heat. We can harness these for many activities. The uses range from photosynthesis in plants, to creating electricity with photovoltaic (PV) cells, to heating water and food.
What are some uses of solar energy? Here are seven common uses and benefits of sunlight in our daily lives.
- Solar Electricity
This is one of the uses of solar energy that has gained tremendous momentum in recent years. As solar panel costs decline and more people become aware of the benefits of solar energy, solar electricity is becoming increasingly accessible.
A distributed solar PV system is usually installed on the rooftops of homes or businesses. These solar power systems generate electricity to offset the property owner’s usage. These can be grid-tied or off grid.
- Solar Water Heating
Solar energy can extend to water heating systems. Most solar water heating solutions create hot water that is consumed inside the home or hotel (hyperlink to https://newsouthernenergy.com/project/15-on-orange/). Solar geysers use a rooftop cell to absorb the sun’s heat and transfer it to a water tank. Additionally, this technology can used for swimming pools or jacuzzies.
- Solar Heating
Typical uses of solar space heating systems include powering radiant floors or using a Forced Hot Air (FHA) system to heat a home. Passive solar home design is another one of the uses of solar energy. In this way, you can heat homes or businesses in Winter by factoring in the placement of windows and the selection of materials used in the building.
- Solar Ventilation
Solar ventilation system such as solar attic fans can help to cool your home or office during Summer. This may be a good option if you are not able to install a full solar PV system. One innovative product is the Solatube solar attic fan. Moreover, this application is used for commercial and industrial purposes. Examples include factories, warehouses, or cold storage units.
- Solar Lighting
Solar lights have become ubiquitous. They can be found everywhere from home landscaping and security lights, to road signs and streetlights. These technologies for your home are inexpensive. Plus, they are readily available from basic to high-end designs from your local hardware store oronline shopping websites such as Amazon.com. All of these uses of solar energy will help you save money on electricity.
- Portable Solar
In today’s connected world, phones and tablets are always with us. Let’s face it, we often run low on battery. Portable solar PV chargers can keep your personal electric devices charged on the go. The technology already exists to integrate solar cells into our phones. This has been in used watches since the 1970s. One example is the Citizen Eco-Drive. Furthermore, researchers in Japan have even developed lightweight, water-resistant solar cells. These could someday be sewed into clothing to power our devices.
- Solar Transportation
Solar-powered vehicles are likely to become more pervasive in the future. The scientific community is exploring the uses of solar energy in buses, trains, airplanes, racing cars and more. Fully solar-powered cars are not commonplace yet. However, they are feasible if you own an electric car and charge it with solar panels. Usually, this is done via a solar-connected battery.
A Solar-Powered Future
Solar energy is already becoming a more familiar part of our lives. No doubt, this technology will continue to grow. Moreover, it will improve our daily lives and help power a cleaner world. How many more uses of solar energy will there be in the future? We are excited to find out!