What is solar energy? How is it generated?
The utilization of radiant energy from the sun is called as solar energy. To be more specific, solar energy is the conversion of sunlight into mechanical power, electric power or even chemical power by various solar energy technologies like water pumps, photovoltaic cells, solar thermal devices, and solar chimney and so on. Now how does solar energy work is a very interesting topic to ponder upon and definitely needs a closer observation of all the related aspects.
How does solar energy work: solar energy can run the world!
The regeneration, application and use of solar power are the initial steps for closely understanding exactly how does solar energy work. Also considering solar power as the ultimate source of renewable energy is very important. The electromagnetic waves in the sunís rays hit the earthís atmosphere in its upper levels. Nearly seventy percent of this radiation is reflected back to the space and the remaining seventy percent is absorbed by the landmass, water bodies and clouds. Direct solar radiation causes radiant heat that is captured and machinated to yield other desirable forms of power like electricity, mechanical power and chemical power. This solar radiation accounts for nearly 99 percent of the useable flux of the renewable power on earth. Now how does solar energy work in respective fields of application depends solely on how efficiently this source of power is utilized by the solar energy technologies according to the individual requirements. Interestingly, there are innumerable types and domains of application of solar power technology starting from architecture, urban planning to domestic usages like cooking and even vehicles.
The mode and medium of application of solar energy is determined by the respective field it is being tailored to. However, commonly solar energy techniques can be still classified into active and passive solar technologies according to their functional mode. Active solar energy technology involves the direct consumption of solar energy in the concerned practical field like pumps to convert sunlight into mechanical power, photovoltaic cells to convert sunlight into heat and even fans to convert solar energy into electrical power. And passive solar energy technology stresses upon the direct use of sunlight and not the regenerated forms like citing buildings optimally to the Sun so as to get the maximum sunlight, planning buildings with well-illuminated and well-lit spaces etc. Thus active solar technology opts for more and more supply of solar energy whereas passive solar energy technology tries to prevent the use of alternate energy resources altogether. It is pretty understandable from all these discussions that solar energy rightly shares much of the space in our daily lives and the effort needed for the application and use of this mighty resource is undoubtedly worthwhile. Some of the innumerable fields of application of solar energy, including active and passive solar technologies are agriculture, urban planning, architecture, solar lighting, electricity, cooking, disinfection and desalination and the list continues. In spite of all these plus points solar energy has a few disadvantages as well that need to be addressed closely.
Solar energy: pros and cons
To realize exactly how does solar energy work, we need to review the advantages and disadvantages of this high end technology one by one. The very fact that solar energy is a free and unlimited source of renewable power makes it a wonder power indeed! Addition to this is the pollution free output that solar energy offers to todayís environment that is badly stuck in a dire strait with the accumulating greenhouse gases from the conventional power plants. Also, this wonder power has the potential of running vehicles and satellites. However, there are certain disfavors to this amazing power. Since a very strong and consistent sunlight is required for the solar energy technology to work efficiently, the solar power plants are only limited to very few places across the world. A dispersed flow of sunlight would neither deliver the desired output nor would it be economically feasible as the set-up generally takes a whole lot of money. Research on these limitations is still on and soon will a time come when every other house will be having a solar power converter to welcome a greener world ahead.
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