The term solar energy refers to the use of the energy that comes from the Sun. It is a type of renewable energy and the energy contained in the Sun is so abundant that it is considered inexhaustible. The sun takes 5 billion years to emit solar radiation and it is estimated that it has not yet reached 50% of its existence.
Solar energy, besides being inexhaustible, is abundant: the amount of energy that the Sun pours daily on Earth is ten thousand times greater than that consumed every day on the planet. The radiation received is distributed in a more or less uniform way over the entire surface of the earth, which makes it difficult to use.
Definition of solar energy
Solar energy is the energy contained in solar radiation that is transformed by the corresponding devices, in a thermal or electric form, for later consumption where it is needed. The element responsible for capturing solar radiation and transforming it into useful energy is the solar panel.
Solar panels can be of different types depending on the mechanism chosen for the use of solar energy.
- By solar thermal collectors (solar thermal energy)
- Using photovoltaic modules (photovoltaic solar energy)
- Without any external element (passive solar energy)
Mechanisms for the utilization of solar energy
At present there are basically three ways to take advantage of solar energy.
- Passive solar energy
- Photovoltaic solar energy
- Solar thermal energy
Passive solar energy is the oldest method of harnessing solar radiation. This is the method used by ancient cultures as explained in the history of solar energy. This system consists of taking advantage of the solar radiation without the use of any device or intermediate device, by means of the appropriate location, design and orientation of the buildings, correctly using the properties of the materials and the architectural elements of the same: insulation, , Protections, etc. By applying criteria of bioclimatic architecture can significantly reduce the need to air-conditioning buildings and to illuminate them.
Photovoltaic solar energy takes advantage of the properties of silicon to generate an electric current, which is correctly treated, can be used to supply electricity in autonomous installations or can be used to supply it directly to the electricity grid.
Another form of very habitual and economic use is solar thermal energy. Its operation is based on the idea of heating water through solar collectors that can later be used for domestic hot water or heating a home.
Energies derived from solar energy
Most energy systems are derived from solar energy. Within renewable energies, for example, wind energy is the energy obtained from the wind. But how is it generated in the wind? The Sun, heating the air of the surface generates currents of air. The hot air rises and its place is occupied by another mass of air that was around it. This movement causes the wind.
In the case of hydropower, the potential energy of the water is taken advantage of by falling from a raised site to drive turbines. But how does the water go up there? The Sun, when heating the water, evaporates forming clouds. Once the water is condensed it will fall again to feed rivers and swamps and restart the turbines.
Even in non-renewable energies like coal and oil, solar energy has some influence. Fossil fuels are the result of a long process of transformation of millions of years of plants and organic compounds. These plants and organisms, in their day were fed by the Sun.
About this site
The creators and administrators of this website are not part of any association or company directly related to solar energy. Our purpose is to make known and inform about the operation and the different techniques of solar energy utilization.
The only financing of this project is generated by the publicity published on the website, which allows us to cover the maintenance costs of the site itself (web server, programming, etc.)