What is Solar Energy And What Technologies are Available?

solar panel

Understand a little more about the concepts, definitions and technologies that exist for the uses of Solar Energy.

Definition of Solar Energy

Solar energy is energy from the sun’s light and heat that is harnessed and used by means of different technologies, mainly as solar heating, solar photovoltaic energy, heliothermic energy and solar architecture. Solar energy is considered a renewable and sustainable energy source.

Meaning of Solar Energy in the informal dictionary

Solar energy is energy derived from the Sun in the form of solar radiation.

Main Solar Energy Technologies

There are many different ways to use solar energy as a source of renewable energy. The main technologies used are the following:

1 – Thermal Solar Energy

It is a form of alternative energy and a technology for harnessing solar energy to generate thermal energy or electrical energy for use in industry and or homes. The first installation of solar thermal equipment took place in the Sahara desert, approximately in 1910, when an engine was powered by the steam produced by heating the water using sunlight.

2 – Solar Collector – Solar Water Heater

It is the best known way of using solar thermal energy and is used to heat water for bathing in homes (the famous solar heaters) and also to generate hot water for industrial use.

3 – Heliothermic Solar Energy

This is another way of using the heat from solar energy to generate electricity. Most of the time, concentrators are used, such as mirrors, to focus the energy on a specific point, either on the top of a tower or in a vacuum tube, to heat the liquid inside and use this liquid to generate steam and feed an electric steam turbine.

4 – Photovoltaic Solar Energy – Direct Conversion of Solar Radiation to Electric Energy

In addition to the thermal processes described above, solar energy can be directly converted into electrical energy. Photovoltaic energy is today the fastest growing clean energy source in the world. It uses semiconductor materials such as crystalline silicon to convert sunlight into photovoltaic energy (solar electrical energy).

Photovoltaic energy has been around for more than 100 years and today it is used to generate electricity for thousands of homes and industries worldwide. For it to be harnessed to generate electricity for homes and businesses, photovoltaic cells need to be mounted inside a solar panel for protection and durability and, in turn, this solar panel will be connected to other panels in a photovoltaic solar system. The solar photovoltaic system consists of: Solar panels, solar inverter.