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Solar Energy Essay

Solar Energy Essay

Example #1

THE ENERGY OF THE FUTURE? About 47 percent of the energy that the sun releases to the earth actually reaches the ground. About a third is reflected directly back into space by the atmosphere. The time in which solar energy is available is also the time we least need it least – daytime. Because the sun’s energy cannot be stored for use another time, we need to convert the sun’s energy into an energy that can be stored.

One possible method of storing solar energy is by heating water that can be insulated. The water is heated by passing it through hollow panels. Black-coated steel plates are used because dark colors absorb heat more efficiently. However, this method only supplies enough energy for activities such as washing and bathing.

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The solar panels generate “low grade” heat that is, they generate low temperatures for the amount of heat needed in a day. In order to generate “high grade” heat, intense enough to convert water into high-pressure steam which can then be used to turn electric generators there must be another method. The concentrated beams of sunlight are collected in a device called a solar furnace, which acts on the same principles as a large magnifying glass.

The solar furnace takes the sunlight from a large area, and the use of lenses and mirrors can focus the light into a tiny area. Very elaborate solar furnaces have machines that angle the mirrors and lenses to the sun all day. This system can provide sizeable amounts of electricity and create extremely high temperatures of over 6000 degrees Fahrenheit.

Solar energy generators are very clean little waste is emitted from the generators into the environment. The use of coal, oil, and gasoline is a constant drain, economically and environmentally. Will solar energy be the wave of the future? Could the world’s requirement of energy be fulfilled by the “powerhouse” of our galaxy – the sun? Automobiles in the future will probably run on solar energy, and houses will have solar heaters.

 

Example #2

About 47 percent of the energy that the sun releases to the earth actually reaches the ground. About a third is reflected directly back into space by the atmosphere. The time in which solar energy is available is also the time we least need it least – daytime. Because the sun’s energy cannot be stored for use another time, we need to convert the sun’s energy into an energy that can be stored. One possible method of storing solar energy is by heating water that can be insulated.

The water is heated by passing it through hollow panels. Black-coated steel plates are used because dark colors absorb heat more efficiently. However, this method only supplies enough energy for activities such as washing and bathing. The solar panels generate “low grade” heat that is, they generate low temperatures for the amount of heat needed in a day.

In order to generate “high grade” heat, intense enough to convert water into high-pressure steam which can then be used to turn electric generators there must be another method. The concentrated beams of sunlight are collected in a device called a solar furnace, which acts on the same principles as a large magnifying glass. The solar furnace takes the sunlight from a large area, and the use of lenses and mirrors can focus the light into a very small area.

Very elaborate solar furnaces have machines that angle the mirrors and lenses to the sun all day. This system can provide sizable amounts of electricity and create extremely high temperatures of over 6000 degrees Fahrenheit. Solar energy generators are very clean little waste is emitted from the generators into the environment. The use of coal, oil, and gasoline is a constant drain, economically and environmentally. Will solar energy be the wave of the future?

Could the world’s Tran 2 requirement of energy be fulfilled by the “powerhouse” of our galaxy – the sun? Automobiles in the future will probably run on solar energy, and houses will have solar heaters. Solar cells today are mostly made of silicon, one of the most common elements on Earth. The crystalline silicon solar cell was one of the first types to be developed and it is still the most common type in use today.

They do not pollute the atmosphere and they leave behind no harmful waste products. Photovoltaic cells work effectively even in cloudy weather and unlike solar heaters, are more efficient at low temperatures. They do their job silently, and there are no moving parts to wear out. It is no wonder that one marvels at how such a device would function.

To understand how a solar cell works, it is necessary to go back to some basic atomic concepts. In the simplest model of the atom, electrons orbit a central nucleus, composed of protons and neutrons. Each electron carries one negative charge and each proton one positive charge. Neutrons carry no charge. Every atom has the same number of electrons as there are protons, so, on the whole, it is electrically neutral.

The electrons have discrete kinetic energy levels, which increase with the orbital radius. When atoms bond together to form a solid, the electron energy levels merge into bands. In electrical conductors, these bands are continuous but in insulators and semiconductors, there is an “energy gap”, in which no electron orbits can exist, between the inner valence band and outer conduction band.

Valence electrons help to bind together the atoms in a solid by orbiting 2 adjacent nuclei, while conduction electrons, being less closely bound to the nuclei, are free to move in response to an applied voltage or electric field. The fewer conduction electrons there are, the higher the electrical resistively of the material. Tran 3 In semiconductors, the materials from which solar sales are made, the energy gap E.g. is fairly small.

Because of this, electrons in the valence band can easily be made to jump to the conduction band by the injection of energy, either in the form of heat or light. This explains why the high resistively of semiconductors decreases as the temperature is raised or the material illuminated. The excitation of valence electrons to the conduction band is best accomplished when the semiconductor is in the crystalline state, i.e. when the atoms are arranged in a precise geometrical formation or lattice.

At room temperature and low illumination, pure or so-called “intrinsic” semiconductors have a high resistivity. But the resistively can be greatly reduced by “doping,? i.e. introducing a very small amount of impurity, of the order of one in a million atoms. There are 2 kinds of doping. Those which have more valence electrons that the semiconductor itself are called “donors” and those which have fewer are termed “acceptors”. In a silicon crystal, each atom has 4 valence electrons, which are shared with a neighboring atom to form a stable tetrahedral structure.

Phosphorus, which has 5 valence electrons, is a donor and causes extra electrons to appear in the conduction band. Silicon so doped is called “n-type”. On the other hand, boron, with a valence of 3, is an acceptor, leaving so-called “holes” in the lattice, which act like positive charges and render the silicon “p-type”.

Holes, like electrons, will remove under the influence of an applied voltage but, as the mechanism of their movement is valence electron substitution from atom to atom, they are less mobile than the free conduction electrons. In a non-p crystalline silicon Tran 4 solar cell, a shadow junction is formed by diffusing phosphorus into a boron-based base.

At the junction, conduction electrons from donor atoms in the n-region diffuse into the p-region and combine with holes in acceptor atoms, producing a layer of negatively-charged impurity atoms. The opposite action also takes place, holes from acceptor atoms in the p-region crossing into the n-region, combining with electrons and producing positively-charged impurity atoms.

The net result of these movements is the disappearance of conduction electrons and holes from the vicinity of the junction and the establishment thereof a reverse electric field, which is positive on the n-side and negative on the p-side. This reverse field plays a vital part in the functioning of the device. The area in which it is set up is called the “depletion area” or “barrier layer”. When light falls on the front surface, photons with energy in excess of the energy gap interact with valence electrons and lift them to the conduction band.

This movement leaves behind holes, so each photon is said to generate an “electron-hole pair”. In the crystalline silicon, electron-hole generation takes place throughout the thickness of the cell, in concentrations depending on the irradiance and the spectral composition of the light. Photon energy is inversely proportional to wavelength.

The highly energetic photons in the ultra-violet and blue part of the spectrum are absorbed very near the surface, while the less energetic longer wave photons in the red and infrared are absorbed deeper in the crystal and further from the junction. Most are absorbed within a thickness of 100 m.

The electrons and holes diffuse through the crystal in an effort to produce an even distribution. Some recombine after a lifetime of the order of one millisecond, neutralizing their charges and giving up energy in the form of heat. Others reach the junction before their lifetime has expired. There they are separated Tran 5 by the reverse field, the electrons being accelerated towards the negative contact and the holes towards the positive.

If the cell is connected to a load, electrons will be pushed from the negative contact through the load to the positive contact, where they will recombine with holes. This constitutes an electric current. In crystalline silicon cells, the current generated by radiation of a particular spectral composition is directly proportional to the irradiance. Some types of solar cells, however, do not exhibit this linear relationship.

The silicon solar cell has many advantages such as high reliability, photovoltaic power plants can be put up easily, and quickly, photovoltaic power plants are quite modular and can respond to sudden changes in solar input which occur when clouds pass by. However, there are still some major problems with them.

They still cost too much for mass use and are relatively inefficient with conversion efficiencies of 20% to 30%. With time, both of these problems will be solved through mass production and new technological advances in semiconductors.

 

Example #3

Solar energy is better for the environment than energy derived from other sources. Even though it is the most difficult source of energy to channel, solar energy can provide great amounts of resources for the environment as well as the market venture if proven effective.

The fact that solar energy comes from the sun, makes it the most desired source of energy. Without solar energy, oxygen and food would be rare to find; mostly from the fact that the sun brings forth all life on planet Earth. The idea that the sun itself could be a cash cow has those from environmental engineers to scientists trying to find ways to harness its immense energy.

The venture for solar energy first came into existence from Edmund Becquerel, a French physicist who observed and published findings of the nature of materials to turn light into energy but sadly they were not pursued, until thirty years later when Auguste Mouchout was the first man to patent a design for a motor running on solar energy.

Charles Tellier was also a Frenchman whose work in creating preserved foods through refrigeration, experimented with a non-concentrating/non-reflecting solar motor. He installed the first solar energy system for heating household water on top of his roof. Today, all across the world there is more focus on utilizing solar energy. As Becquerel, Mouchout, and Teller were pioneers for advances in the past, modern-day has its shares of crafty inventors.

Recently, a group of environmentalists in Oregon, lead by Mark Dixon called “Your Environmental Road Trip” (YERT), are building the first solar roadways, in which they plan in the future will span to all fifty states. Dixon and his crew by using solar energy to power highways are saving money for the state as well as the consumer.

By using garbage from the local land fields to generate the durability of asphalt, solar highways are able to sustain the pressures of vehicles with mass such as transferee trucks, while at the same time creating storage space for solar energy. In an interview regarding how did he plan to revolutionize highways using solar energy, Dixon stated.

 

Example #4

Solar Energy All life on Earth depends on energy from the sun. Solar energy is the source of energy for photosynthesis. It provides the warmth necessary for plants and animals to survive. Scientists have found a way to use God’s natural light towards the advantage of our daily lives.

The effects of this idea revolutionary, results of solar power could lead to a more modernized society and an efficient economy. Solar energy is a term that usually means the direct use of sunlight to produce heat or electric power. Solar technology is improving rapidly. Someday, it may provide a clean and abundant source of power. Solar energy is a very useful resource.

Scientists have developed a way to convert the energy absorbed by the sun in the daylight to a rechargeable battery when night falls. So when the sun shines the next morning, it is a recycling process. However, even though solar power has its advantages, some scientists argue it’s Disadvantages. The sun’s energy is plentiful, but it is thinly distributed over a large area and must be collected and concentrated to produce usable power.

As a result, solar energy is a more expensive power source than fossil fuels for most applications. On the other even though it may be more expensive it’s well worth it. Deaths caused by sicknesses such as lung failure can quickly be cut in half. For, most of the time people develop bad lungs by breathing in the pollutants lingering in the air produced by cars, buses, and other types of automobiles.

Solutions such as carpooling were developed in order to decrease the amount of driving cars but it seemed ineffective. Solar power seems to be the only real logical solution. Picture highway of automobiles in motion without inhaling any type of harmful chemical in your body.

Ever since the dawn of time, the sun has been a resource we cannot live or do without, so it’s not such a shock that man has come up with the idea of solar energy. The ideas of solar energy dangerous and some, a very valuable asset to the modern world. 

 

Example #5

Since the beginning of the existence of this planet, the sun has been an important resource for sustaining both human and plant life. Plants, which we feed on, manufacture their food by using sunlight. Adequate exposure to sunlight has valuable health effects on humans. In addition, since historic times, man has employed the sunlight as a source of generating energy used for various industrial and household purposes.

Nonetheless, with the emergence of technology, the man slowly turned from increased dependence on solar energy and adopted the use of fossil fuels and other forms of energy generation. It is of the essence to note that, with the depletion of fossil fuels, more emphasis is now being put on the use of solar energy as an alternate energy source. However, is its use beneficial, especially in this century?

The sunlight can be used in a number of different ways. Usually, it is converted into electricity through the use of photovoltaic cells to power household and industrial electrical equipment. The advantages that the use of solar energy brings have made many people adopt its use. As the current generation is waking up to the reality that the limited world’s resources are slowly becoming diminished, more emphasis has been put on the adoption of renewable energy sources.

However, despite these facts, some people have continued to milk the planet’s essential energy reservoirs without thinking of the next generation. Although the cost of a barrel of oil has escalated tremendously during this decade, the world’s thirst for oil has not been quenched.

A number of experts have projected that if the current trend continues uncontrolled, then the world’s demand for oil is likely to escalate by as high as sixty-five percent in the next two decades. Therefore, how will we meet all this demand for energy when renewable resources are continually being depleted?

As an alternative energy source, the use of solar energy can go a long way in meeting the rise in the global demand for energy. It is important to note that long after the other resources have been entirely exhausted from the face of the earth, solar energy will still be present.

So why have we not completely adopted its use? Some people have claimed that it is more cost-effective to generate energy using fossil fuels. This has made renewable energy sources, such as the wind and sunlight, to go untapped. However, it seems as though this is no longer the case.

If the production of fossil fuels is cost-effective, then why is it that the world’s consumption of energy far exceeds the amount that is supplied? And why has the grid been unable to meet adequately the increased demand for energy for home and industrial appliances? Currently, power failures are a common daily occurrence. That is why smart people have started to look for affordable alternatives for generating power. No wonder, solar energy has never disappointed them.

It has been said that the use of sunlight for energy generation is more expensive because of the exorbitant expenses incurred while installing the solar panels. On the other hand, it is worth mentioning that in the long run, solar panels save more money or they are ‘free’ once the fixing is done. The meager costs incurred in their maintenance cannot be compared to the costs of the use of other sources of energy. The recovery period for these costs incurred is shorter as compared to the use of electricity.

In addition, some governmental agencies are providing ambitious financial incentives for individuals who want to bring the benefits of solar energy to their homes. Moreover, some utility organizations practice net metering programs in which an individual sells his or her surplus energy to the organizations so as to reduce the costs of the electricity bills.

Solar energy equipment also utilizes less amount of energy since they do not require any fuel to ensure that they are running. As a result, they are not directly affected by the ever rise and fall of fuel prices that sometimes lead to increased burdens on the use of renewable energy sources.

The continued dependence on renewable sources of energy is even more costly. For example, it is approximated that in the United States, the cost of electricity has been increasing at about 6.5% every year for the past three decades. The overwhelming escalation of electricity prices can lead to super-high energy costs in the future if no adequate efforts are done to curb this unprecedented price increase through the adoption of the use of other cheaper alternative sources of energy.

Besides the high costs of conventional non-renewable sources of energy, the millions of tons of carbon dioxide and other dangerous chemicals produced annually due to the use of fossil fuels in the generation of energy are causing a lot of destruction to our beautiful planet. If no efforts are made to reduce the emission of the dangerous compounds to the atmosphere, then the future generation will hold us accountable for not adopting the use of other environmentally friendly sources of energy.

Some people argue that solar panels require a lot of space to accommodate them. They say that to achieve high-energy efficiency, solar panels should be installed in a wide area of land. As much as this is true, it is not a cause of neglecting the adoption of solar energy as an alternate source of energy. How much land is now uninhabited in many places around the world? This land can be put to meaningful use by installing solar panels in such areas.

In addition, the adoption of some creative strategies can easily defeat this problem. For instance, some households and business enterprises have had their grid-connected solar panels attached to utility and light poles, people with extra space have filled them up with solar panels, and some people have even set up their solar panels on the rooftops.

Interestingly, the installation of solar panels is unconstrained by geographical limits. This implies that one can comfortably install them in the remotest part of a country since energy from the sun is available independently and one does not require a connection to a power or a gas grid for them to function. Therefore, as much as solar panels require adequate installation area, better ways of surmounting this problem are available.

It has been argued that the use of solar energy is dependant on weather conditions; therefore, this makes it to be unreliable as weather conditions usually change constantly. In addition, the opponents of solar energy have put forth that its production is only limited to during the day and hence it cannot adequately meet the needs of energy.

However, these inadequacies can be surmounted by building an efficient backup system or by practicing net metering. Because the production of solar energy relies on the location of the sun, fixing some parts in the solar panels will ensure they function optimally, regardless of the weather conditions.

Even though bad weather is able to lower the effectiveness of the solar panels, the effects are not very much extensive. For example, it has been estimated that even if the U.S. could get at least forty minutes of sunshine per day, it can be adequate to produce more energy than all the fossil fuels it uses on a yearly basis.

Therefore, despite its little inadequacies, the adoption of solar energy as an alternate energy source can reduce the usage of the planet’s precious fossil fuels that have been estimated to be undergoing depletion at a rate of more than 100,000 times faster than they are being created.

In conclusion, it is without a doubt that our continued negligence to adopt the use of solar energy as an alternate energy source puts us in a tricky situation. This calls for the enactment of appropriate energy policies to increase the use of sunlight for the production of energy.

The world’s increased energy needs cannot be adequately met by the use of the diminishing non-renewable sources of energy. Therefore, the adoption of solar energy, which is abundant, readily available, and can never be depleted, is the best alternative to this problem.

Example #6

Solar energy is the radiation from the sun which is capable of producing heat, causing chemical reactions, or generating electricity. The Sun is an extremely powerful energy source, and the sunlight is by far the largest source of energy received by the Earth, but its intensity at the Earth’s surface is actually quite low. This is essential because of the enormous radial spreading of radiation from the distant Sun.

A relatively minor additional loss is due to the Earth’s atmosphere and clouds, which absorb or scatter as much as 54 percent of the incoming sunlight. Yet the total amount of solar energy incident on Earth is vastly in excess of the world’s current and anticipated energy requirements. If suitably harnessed, this highly diffused source has the potential to satisfy all future energy needs.

In the 21st century, solar energy is expected to become increasingly attractive as an energy source because of its inexhaustible supply and its non-polluting character, in stark contrast to the finite fossil fuels coal, petroleum, and natural gas.

The sunlight that reaches the ground consists of nearly 50 percent visible light, 45 percent infrared radiation, and smaller amounts of ultraviolet and other forms of electromagnetic radiation. This radiation can be converted either into thermal energy (heat) or into electrical energy, though the former is easier to accomplish. Two main types of devices are used to capture solar energy and convert it to thermal energy: flat-plate collectors and concentrating collectors.

Because the intensity of solar radiation at the Earth’s surface is so low, both types of collectors must be large in the area. Even in sunny parts of the world’s temperate regions, for instance, a collector must have a surface area of about 40 square meters to gather enough energy to serve the energy needs of one person.

The most widely used flat-plate collectors consist of a blackened metal plate, covered with one or two sheets of glass, that is heated by the sunlight falling on it. This heat is then transferred to air or water, called carrier fluids, that flow past the back of the plate. The heat may be used directly, or it may be transferred to another medium for storage. Flat-plate collectors are commonly used for hot-water heating and house heating.

The storage of heat for use at night or on cloudy days is commonly accomplished by using insulated tanks to store the water heated during sunny periods. Such a system can supply a home with hot water drawn from the storage tank, or, with the warmed water flowing through tubes in floors and ceilings, it can provide space heating. Flat-plate collectors typically heat carrier fluids to temperatures ranging from 66 to 93 °C. The efficiency of such collectors ranges from 20 to 80 percent, depending on the design of the collector. When higher temperatures are needed, concentrating, or focusing, the collector is used.

These devices concentrate sunlight received from a wide area onto a small blackened receiver, thereby considerably increasing the light’s intensity in order to produce high temperatures. The arrays of carefully aligned mirrors or lenses used in these so-called solar furnaces can focus enough sunlight to heat a target to temperatures of 2,000 °C or more. This heat can be used to study the properties of materials at high temperatures, or it can be used to operate a boiler, which in turn generates steam for a steam-turbine–electric-generator power plant.

The solar furnace has become an important tool in high-temperature research. For producing steam, the movable mirrors are so arranged as to concentrate large amounts of solar radiation upon blackened pipes through which water is circulated and thereby heated.

Solar radiation may be converted directly into electricity by solar cells. In such cells, a small electric voltage is generated when light strikes the junction between a metal and a semiconductor or the junction between two different semiconductors. The power generated by a single photovoltaic cell is typically only about two watts. By connecting large numbers of individual cells together, however, as in solar-panel arrays, hundreds or even thousands of kilowatts of electric power can be generated in a solar electric plant.

The energy efficiency of most present-day photovoltaic cells is only about 15 to 20 percent, and since the intensity of solar radiation is low, to begin with, huge and costly assemblies of such cells are required to produce even moderate amounts of power.

Consequently, photovoltaic cells that operate on sunlight or artificial light have so far found major use only in low-power applications—as power sources for calculators and watches, for example. Larger units have been used to provide power for water pumps and communications systems in remote areas and for weather and communications satellites.

Solar energy is also used on a small scale for purposes other than those described above. In some countries, for instance, specially designed solar ovens are employed for cooking, and solar energy is used to produce salt from seawater by evaporation.

The potential for solar energy is enormous since about 200,000 times the world’s total daily electric-generating capacity is received by the Earth every day in the form of solar energy. Unfortunately, though solar energy itself is free, the high cost of its collection, conversion, and storage still limit its exploitation.

 

Example #7

Active solar power relies on solar panels. You may picture them as flat, rectangular boxes on rooftops. There are two main types of solar panels. From a distance, both look like rectangular boxes. Both convert sunlight into energy, but in two different ways. The terms for the two solar panel types are a solar thermal collector and a photovoltaic module.

Solar thermal collector: This solar panel takes in solar energy from the sun and uses it to heat air or water.
Photovoltaic module: This second type of solar panel collects solar energy and converts it to usable electricity. Meet the PVT answer the question, what is PV solar power, we must know what the PV is. The short answer is that PV refers to a photovoltaic module. “P” is for photo and “V” for voltaic.

The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines “photovoltaic” this way. of, relating to, or utilizing the generation of a voltage when radiant energy falls on the boundary between dissimilar substances.“I n simpler terms, “photo” refers to sunlight and “voltaic” refers to electrical energy. PV panels convert sunlight into electrical energy. Sunlight flows into the solar panel.

Electrical energy flows out of the solar panel. A PV solar panel is made up of many photovoltaic (light to volts) cells. These cells are electrically connected, and then covered with glass. The glass provides electrical insulation. It is also good protection from weather and other damaging forces.

When minimal energy is needed, such as that necessary to power a small appliance, a single PV solar panel is sufficient. When more power is needed, an “array” of solar panels is created by connecting panels to one another. If the power will not be supplied to the power grid, the solar panel(s) is connected to a charge controller, and battery. If it is intended for on-grid use, the solar panel array will be connected to an electrical inverter.

PV solar power is solar energy in the form of sunlight, which has been collected by a photovoltaic module and converted into usable electricity. Conventional silicon solar panels convert about 14 to 17 percent of sunlight into usable electricity. That isn’t much. Late in 2006, however, a new solar cell was introduced. Solar panels that utilize the new cell can convert into electricity 22 percent of the sunlight they collect. Theoretically, the maximum that the cells of a solar panel can convert is said to be around 26 to 27 percent of incoming sunlight.

Let’s look at a very simple explanation. Each photovoltaic cell in a PV solar panel is a semiconductor. When sunlight hits those cells, a certain part of the sunlight is absorbed by those silicon cells. The cells take in that part of the sunlight’s energy. The cells then transfer the absorbed sunlight’s energy to the electrons in the silicon. The electrons begin to flow, and this creates an electrical current.

Metal contacts built into the top and bottom of the PV cells draw off that current and it is sent to the grid or battery. It is now usable electricity. The power grid sends it on its way if you have used an on-grid connection. If you are using a battery, it is stored in the battery awaiting your need. PV solar power is being used increasingly with great success, and while it is true that cloud cover can affect it, the cloudy country of Germany leads the world in the successful use of solar panels.

 

Example #8 – interesting ideas

Solar energy is the most ancient kind of energy found on earth, for it is as old as the sun. “Solar” means from the sun. The earth is only one of the many planets which is bathed in the sun’s overflowing energy. Every second the world receives 95.8 trillion watts of power…just think about that for a minute.

Think about how much power the earth just received in the time it took you to read this sentence? It is well beyond the amount of power used in one day. It has the potential to satisfy all our energy needs forever without ever having to use the pollutive fossil fuels ever again.

“The problem, however, does not lie in the limited source, as do fossil fuels, but in harnessing it.” Every day solar energy is being used all around us. In fact, it is the indirect source of all energy and life on earth. Hopefully, with continued research, we will be in a place one day where we can directly rely on the sun on all our energy needs, and never have to use pollutive fossil fuels or nuclear power ever again.


Solar power requires a lot of space. It really works at peak output for 4 hours per day. I don’t know about you but I use electricity 24/7. Peak sunlight has about 75 watts of power per square foot. Moonlight has less than 1.

Solar is excellent for preheating water for a water heater, supplemental heat in the winter. I could envision a large solar plant to provide cities like LA electricity. The electrical demand is the highest on hot sunny days when solar is most abundant.


Solar energy is energy from the Sun in the form of radiated heat and light. It drives the climate and weather and supports life on Earth. Solar energy technologies make controlled use of this energy resource.

Solar power is a synonym of solar energy and/or refers specifically to the conversion of sunlight into electricity by photovoltaics, concentrating solar thermal devices, or various experimental technologies.

In building design, thermal mass is used to conserve heat, and daylighting techniques optimize light. Solar water heaters heat swimming pools and provide domestic hot water. In agriculture, greenhouses grow specialty crops and photo voltaic-powered pumps bring water to grazing animals. Evaporation ponds find applications in the commercial and industrial sectors where they are used to harvest salt and clean waste streams of contaminants.

Solar distillation and disinfection techniques produce potable water for millions of people worldwide. Family scale solar cookers and larger solar kitchens concentrate sunlight for cooking, drying, and pasteurization. More sophisticated concentrating technologies magnify the rays of the Sun for high-temperature material testing, metal smelting, and industrial chemical production. A range of prototype solar vehicles provide ground, air, and sea transportation.

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