power may refer directly to energy from the sun as well as to the
act of harnessing it. This energy hits the earth in the form of light
and also in the form of radiant heat.
The sun is a very powerful force. Through its rays, enough energy
hits the Earth in just one hour to provide a year’s worth of
power for all of the people living on it. In fact, solar energy is
the source of a lot of the other power options on the planet as well.
For example, the wind used in wind power is created by the sun’s
Waves are also created as a result of the sun, as well as tides.
Of course, tides are more greatly influenced by the moon. Still, the
sun remains an indirect source of both tidal power and wave power.
Biofuels are fuels derived from recently dead material. By far, the
most common sources for these fuels are photosynthetic plants. Plants
which are photosynthetic rely upon light from the sun in order to
be able to synthesize their foods.
These wave, wind, and biofuel examples demonstrate a few different
ways which solar power indirectly affects other alternative energy
options. However, even when attention is focused specifically on energy
from the sun, there are still quite a few choices when it comes to
directly harnessing it.
The two major methods are through photovoltaics and through solar
Photovoltaics deal with the direct conversion of sunlight into electricity.
This is commonly done with silicon solar panels. As the sunlight hits
the panels, electrons are knocked loose, which creates an electrical
The current may then be used in a variety of applications. For instance,
as a direct current it may be used to maintain the batteries of boats,
cars, and recreational vehicles. It may also be switched into an alternating
current through the use of an inverter. This allows for the energy
to be used within the home in the same way that city power is.
Some of the best-known brands of solar panels are Sharp Solar,
BP Solar, and Kyocera Solar.
Other manufacturers of high quality solar panels include
and ET Solar.
All of these companies have proven track records of quality products. Some of the
best-selling solar panels on the market are the
Sharp 235W Solar Panel,
the Trina 235W Solar Panel,
the Uni Solar 144W Solar Panel, and the
ET 275W Solar Panel.
Solar collectors deal with the thermal energy or heat of the sun.
Ones which work with lower temperature applications may be used for
pool heating. Some of these will also work for space heating as well.
Medium temperature collectors are used in homes to heat water in an
High temperature solar collector applications are usually involved
in the generation of electricity. However, this isn’t done in
the same, direct manner as through photovoltaics. Rather, the heat
is used to create steam which in turn powers an electrical generator.
Solar cookers also utilize solar thermal energy. They concentrate
sunlight to heat food and water.
In addition to these technologies of harnessing solar power, there
are also passive lighting and heating methods which are used. Passive
solar lighting design makes the most of natural light, reducing the
need for artificial illumination. This may be accomplished with strategically
placed windows and skylights. Another passive solar lighting option
is to use hybrid solar lights. These channel natural light along optical
fibers to where it is most needed.