Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Utilization of solar energy

Sun is the ultimate source of energy that has provided us with energy for billions of years and will continue to do so for many more years to come. The earth receives a fractional amount of solar energy but this minute quantity is sufficient enough to meet the energy requirements of the present day and also of the future. The solar energy can be used for many purposes.

On the basis of its use, solar energy can be divided into solar active (direct use) and solar passive (indirect use). Solar active category can be further classified into solar thermal and solar photovoltaic.

Solar thermal is used to collect and convert solar energy into heat energy. This thermal energy can be used for water and air heating. It can be used cooking, drying and in the distillation process. In solar thermal technology collectors are used to collect solar energy, a transferring medium that transfers heat and a heat storage tank. Solar thermal technologies are used in solar geysers, solar cookers etc.

Solar photovoltaic is used to convert the solar energy into electricity. The electricity so produced can be used for several purposes. The electricity produced by solar photovoltaic technology can either be directly used or can be utilized by storing in battery systems.

Solar passive technology of solar energy is usually used in buildings. Buildings are so constructed so as to maximize the amount of solar energy received. This solar energy can be used for purposes like lighting, air conditioning, water and space heating and cooling.

Thus, solar energy can be put to a vast number of uses.

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