Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Utilization of solar energy

Sun is the ultimate renewable alternative energy source that has given energy to us for billions of years and will continue to do so for many more years to come. The amount of solar energy received by the earth is very small. But this renewable solar energy is sufficient enough to meet the energy requirements many generations to come. The solar energy as an alternative energy source can be used for many purposes.

Solar energy can be classified into solar active (direct use) and solar passive (indirect use) on the basis of its usage. Solar active energy can be further categorized into solar thermal and solar photovoltaic.

Solar thermal energy is used to collect renewable solar energy and then convert this energy into heat energy. The heat energy can be used for water heating and heating of air. The solar energy in the form of heat energy can be used cooking, drying and in the distillation process. Collectors are used to collect renewable solar energy. A transferring medium is used that transfers heat to a heat storage tank that stores the solar energy and acts as an alternative power store.

Solar photovoltaic converts the solar renewable energy into electricity that can be used for several purposes. This electricity can either be used directly or it can be stored in battery systems for later use.

Indirect use of solar energy can be used to keep the buildings warm. Passive solar energy techniques are used for lighting, air conditioning and water and space heating purposes.

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