The great fireball called the sun, which even from a distance of 150 million km in the space may provide us with all the energy we need to run our automobiles, fly our jets, illuminate our homes and offices and keep them cool in the summer and warm in the winter. But the power of the Sun is not restricted to just this – we are now mixing technology with the natural sunlight that we get and the process is already on the making. What I am referring to here is solar power and its tremendous potential. Solar power is all free save and except for the processing charges since nobody owns the sun nor has anyone filed a claim on it as yet.
The energy that comes from the sun which is known as solar energy had so far been utilized by us for drying clothes while the Aztecs knew the art of concentrating sunrays for cooking. However, with the advancement of science, we have been able to utilize the solar energy in several fields of private and public utilities. But for harnessing and running solar energy scientifically, we need PV or photoelectric or photovoltaic cells which are able to convert light energy to electricity. These cells are now providing the energy that is needed to run satellites that orbit the earth while a renowned Japanese automaker is already in the process of introducing Hybrid Cars that are supposed to run on conventional fuel as well as through solar energy.
Thermal or solar energy is currently used in many countries for cooking/heating; timber seasoning and drying; refrigeration and cold storage facilities as well as for power generation and distillation. But the process may not be that simple. We need several devices or implements for utilizing solar energy that include concentrating collectors, flat plate cookers, solar panel hot water systems, solar photovoltaic panel, power tower, solar pond, solar drier, solar hot air system and many more.
The basic designing of a solar water heater that can serve as a central heating system in homes and workshops consist of neatly arranged pipes that are placed on rooftops or terraces. They receive plenty of sunlight all through the day. Normally painted black, they absorb maximum sunrays. When water is pumped in at the bottom of these pipes, convection helps it to flow on the upper reaches of the pipe. And the circulation goes on, thus heating the area around it.
Solar energy is also used in making
solar furnaces which actually are giant sized solar
cookers. Huge array of mirrors placed at strategic
points concentrate sunrays, directing it to a
comparatively small area where it reaches very high
temperature. The solar furnace at Odeillo in
The history of solar power tells us that its popularity has been on the increase for a long time. And why not, since there are obvious financial as well as ecological benefits. You can also set up a system at home – just ensure that you know a few things such as where exactly to set it up, how to install it, where to get the parts cheaply from, how to get free batteries, how to wire the system and also what are the safety precautions that need to be followed when you are installing the home solar power system.