How Solar Works
A typical Solar System is made up of the following components:
- Solar Panels - change sunlight into direct current (DC) electricity Support Structure - attaches the solar panels to roof or building.
- Wiring - provides a path for electricity to flow.
- Inverter - changes DC to AC electricity used in residences & other buildings.
- Meter - provides data about the energy (kWh) produced, used, or sent to the utility.
Solar energy is the primary source of renewable, non-perishable energy that could be extracted, processed and utilized in a scale not allowed by other non-conventional sources. Unlike hydro-electric power sources, and wind-power sources, or even the supposedly 'clean' nuclear-energy sources, solar energy could be harnessed and used in extremely small units, without wastage or energy dissipation/seepage. This makes it ideal for usage in individual domestic/residential units, commercial units, clinical systems, and laboratories and even medium to large scale industrial units. Because it is directly availed from the sun, the energy comes in its purest form and only requires the conversion into electrical energy using heat engines and photovoltaic cells. With the pressing need of energy conservation in face of the global energy crisis, solar energy presents a massive opportunity in the way of preserving our natural fossil-fuel reserves and utilizing non-conventional energy.
The most common form of solar energy extraction is through a process called 'active solar energy extraction', which makes use of solar panels, photovoltaic plates and solar thermal collectors to use the energy. This could then be used for myriad purposes, ranging from operating the humble clothes iron, solar cookers and the water heater to high-heat thermal processing in industrial units. Solar energy finds application in medical circles for its disinfectant properties, as also in agricultural and horticultural spheres for Green-housing. Its tremendous versatility and extreme degree of user-customizability looks to make solar energy a globally preferred source of energy in times to come. It is easy to extract, easy to harness, contains no environmental inhibitors (hence extremely minimal chances of environmental pollution) and most importantly, extremely cheap (owing to its unreserved abundance). Because solar energy is to be found everywhere, the user would be able to utilize it just by installing a conversion set in his or her own premises. This ensures extremely reduced costs and sustainable availability, as the energy need not go through the hands of any service provider or seller, unlike LPG, petroleum and diesel.
Users of solar energy vouch for its wide applicability, utility and versatility that allow them to use this energy for various purposes, within the house. There are 'full-solar' households, that have been successfully using solar energy instead of the regular electric energy (available from thermal and Hydro-electric plants), resulting in massively reduced costs and greater savings. The primary advantage of solar energy is its uninterrupted supply, which unlike local electricity supplies, is not interrupted for reasons like paucity of coal, repair-work in stations or line-snags. As long as the conversion plate is maintained properly, an infinite amount of solar energy could be processed and utilized. Solar energy could be used for cooking food, through solar-powered cookers and microwaves, for domestic illumination and lighting facilities, heating water and even for air-conditioning and ventilation. Solar energy is also preferred in domestic water-treatment and purification facilities, and in domestic units, solar energy is already in use as auxiliary power units to bring down the electricity costs.
Solar energy guarantees high returns on investment for the customer, owing to it's free availability and easy maintenance for processing machines. Although initial installation and set-up costs for solar equipment might be on the higher side compared to the conventional energy sources, there's always a quick offset in terms of sustained economy through use, and savings. With no electricity bills to worry about, and no environmental pollutants, solar energy systems prove to be high-value investments. Also, the government actively encourages the increased usage of solar energy, and in many states, the solar energy plates, panels and other equipment are government-subsidized, with payment allowed in easy installments.
With perishable fuel on the verge of total extinction within a span of about some hundred years or even less, this time we take a stand to preserve some contingent energy for our progeny. Solar energy is clean, non-polluting and cheap, facilitating great economy and tremendous versatility, and is easily going to be the preferred mode of energy in the near future. As more and more systems are being customized for solar-energy consumption, a completely solar-powered future is not far away. Pioneer this change yourself by harnessing the awesome power of solar energy.
Interesting Solar Facts
- Solar Energy is measured in kilowatt-hour. 1 kilowatt = 1000 watts.
- A Megawatt is 1,000,000 Watts; a Gigawatt is 1000 Megawatts.
- 1 kilowatt-hour (kWh) = the amount of electricity required to burn a 100 watt light bulb for 10 hours.
- In just one hour, the earth receives more energy from the sun than the entire world uses during a whole year.
- If we covered a small fraction of the Sahara desert with photovoltaic cells, we could generate all the world's electricity requirements.
- The energy output of a 1 KW solar energy unit is roughly equivalent to the burning of 170 pounds of coal and 300 pounds of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere.
- Solar energy could generate 2.5 percent of the world's electricity by 2025.
- In 1447, Leonardo Da Vinci predicted a future solar industrialization.
- About 2 billion people in the world are currently without electricity.