Solar Power Guide

What is Solar Energy -
Learn The FACTS Here

Ever since the Homo sapiens appeared on this planet some 300,000 years ago, they were overawed at the sunís radiant glare and started worshipping it more out of fear than of reverence. The sun-god was idolized principally as a pagan God than anything else. In ancient Hindu religious ceremonies as well as in Vedic verses, the sun was regarded as an immense source of ethereal energy and addressed as ďÖpronatoshmi DivakaraĒ which means, Hail thee Sun: here are my salutations for you. The sway of the sun also influenced many religious beliefs shared by the Aztecs of Mexico, the Incas of Peru, the Druids of England and many Native American tribes. But the sun is much more than that.

What Is Solar Energy

Apart from the religious beliefs, the sunís energy has enriched us with fossil fuels created through its light energy that had transformed plants, weeds and phytoplankton submerged in the earthís folds for millions of years into coal, oil and natural gas that we use today.

But times have since changed though the energy of the sun hasnít. Today we are not awed by the brilliance of our nearest neighbor star but try to harness a part of that energy to our benefit. The solar energy is no more considered only as a means to dry our damp clothes but also as an energy that can produce electricity through Photovoltaic cells and other means. Surprisingly enough, the solar energy is also transformed into wind energy that runs turbines to produce electric current. But that is a different cup of tea. Incidentally, the sun as well other star forms are also responsible for most of our primary energies. Even nuclear energy evolves from a star as uranium atoms that are used in nuclear energy were created by the vehemence of an exploding star.††

In the earlier days, the sunís heat energy was largely used to warm up water and various methods were adopted for doing so. One of the devices consisted of large mirrors that reflected the sunís rays on large receptacles containing a fluid or plain water. As the concentrated solar heat reflected by the mirrors caused the fluid or the water to boil, it was transported to various areas where hot water was needed. Of course, simpler methods merely had pipes laid on roofs containing water which automatically got heated when exposed to bright sunlight for extended period of time.

Solar energy can also be utilized to generate electricity without the aid of photovoltaic cells as has been done near Californiaís Mojave Desert, using a highly curved mirror known as the parabolic trough. This device focuses the sunlight on a pipe that runs down a central point on top of the curve of the mirror. The resultant heat makes the water boil and then turn into steam. The generated steam is used to turn a turbine which in turn generates electricity. However, there is practically nothing new in this since scientists used the same technology way back in 1868 when an American immigrant from Sweden named John Ericsson developed a solar powered steam engine that really functioned. Just the application of solar energy in the modern times has changed.

There are a few personalities the names of who needs to be mentioned here for their research into ways of harnessing solar energy and using it for the benefit of mankind. Calvin Fuller, Gerald Pearson and Daryl Chaplin of Bell laboratories had revolutionized the use of solar energy by discovering silicon as a semiconductor used in the making of solar cells that produce electricity direct from the sunrays.

Made out of thin layers of silicon and other conductive materials, solar cells are tiny square-shaped semiconductors that generate electricity without the aid of any moving parts. As soon as sunlight hits a solar cell, chemical reactions release electrons, generating current (DC). Several cells grouped together in a cluster formation gives rise to a solar panel, which can provide adequate electricity for a home or workplace as long as the sun shines. This, by the way, is a clear case of solar energy converted to electrical energy without the help of a machine.

Here is another fact about solar energy Ė did you know that you can install a solar energy system at home yourself? Yes it is possible provided you know a few things such as how to select the location and set it up, where to buy cheap parts and batteries from, how to wire the system and last but not the least the safety precautions. To build the solar energy system at home for ecological and financial benefits you need to know all this.

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