What is Solar Power or Solar Energy, Uses & Applications

Solar power or Solar Energy is the energy we derive form from rays and heat of sun. It is in use from the time immemorial. However it is now that mankind has realized its importance as a safe and inexpensive energy source. The energy from the sun can be used to overcome the energy crisis generated by the scarcity of resources like oil and gas. Solar energy is free and it is everywhere. That is why now more and more countries have switched to processes which help them conserve the heat and light from sun.

Access of sun to earth
Sun is a part of solar system and it completes its rotation around the earth in 365 days. When the sun rays travel a long way from sky to earth they carry with them the heat and light of sun. Our earth is capable of absorbing this heat. 30% of the solar energy is sent back while the remaining 70% is consumed by the oceans, rivers, land and clouds. This solar energy is also responsible for rain. It is this energy which completes the water cycle for us. The water vapors accumulate in the air and when they are carried to some higher altitude, these vapors compress themselves to clouds and they shower rain. We receive 3, 85,000EJ energy every year which is sufficient to meet the energy requirement of solar projects. It is not the sun which is responsible for global warming it is the industry and businesses run by man who is responsible. The widespread devastation of forests for bio fuels has affected the mechanism of greenhouse effect hence there is now more heat in summer than which can be tolerated.

How Solar Power works
How Solar Power works

Uses & Applications of Solar Energy
The development and research in the field of alternative fuel generation has also given rise to improvement in the utilization of solar energy. The various applications of solar energy include solar power houses, solar vehicles, cooking, water purification, solar lighting and use of solar thermal energy. The most recent progress in the field of solar energy consumption is the introduction of the concept solar thermal energy. This is the way to harness solar rays to generate heat from them. This process is used to heat water using evacuated tube collectors and glazed flat plate collectors. Thermal solar energy is also used to disinfect water form the germs using sun rays. The heat from the sunrays eliminates the bacteria present in the tap water; this process is called water treatment. Solar energy is also used to cook food in solar cookers. These cookers are specifically designed to store heat of sun to utilize later on. Another amazing dimension of solar heating is the “Process Heat”. Parabolic dish antennas and scheffler reflectors facilitate this process and the heat stored in this way is used for industrial applications. This process is not only helpful in generating electricity but it also produces steam. Some other applications include solar ponds and solar power houses.

Electricity Generation from Sunlight

Electricity today has become essential for our survival. However with the passage of time the cost of production and consumption has also increased. This has forced mankind to look for the alternative ways to generate electric current. The heat from the sun is converted to electricity using Photo voltaic. The use of Photovoltaic was limited to very small applications like solar calculators. However now this mechanisms is used to generate electricity in very large power houses of up to 14 MW. This is an economical way to produce electricity however every solar power house requires a strong backup support usually form wind power houses. However for the purpose of using Photo voltaic at home one can maintain a backup system by using batteries.

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