Solar power which is also known as solar radiation or insolation is simply an energy gotten from the sun.
The sun’s energy supports all life on Earth. This energy comes in a form of heat and light, driving the Earth’s climate and weather. When you hear “renewable energy”, the sun energy is predominantly responsible for the that class of resources.
In summary, solar power is the energy from the sun.
Applications of Solar Power
Solar power dates back millennia and its applications are varied.
The Chinese, Native Americans, Greeks used energy from the sun to warm their buildings by positioning them in a away to be able to receive the sun’s energy.
Farmers in Europe used thermal mass to increase crop yields during cold season of no or little sunlight.
In Africa, the sunlight is a very good means of preservation of perishable food items.
In modern times, solar power is being harnessed to generate electricity.
The French engineer, Auguste Mouchout, successfully powered a steam engine with sunlight in 1866. This solar powered mechanical device happened to be the first known example.
This gave birth to several other inventions such as solar powered devices for irrigation, refrigeration and movement. These devices were invented by engineers such as John Ericsson, Charles Tellier and Frank Shuman over the next 50 years.
Modern Age Solar Power
In 1954, the modern age solar power arrived due to the development of photovoltaic cell by researchers in Bell Laboratories. The photovoltaic cell is capable of effectively converting light into electricity. This is one breakthrough that changed the course of power generation. Since the breakthrough, there are now solar cells which efficiency is over 40%, from initial improvement of 6% to 15%.
Classification of Solar Technology
Active, Passive, Direct and Indirect are some of the classifications of Solar Technology.
Active: the usage of mechanical and electrical components such as fans and pumps to process sunlight in order to be used for heating, lighting and electricity is active solar system.
Passive: the usage of non-mechanical methods of converting and dispensing sunlight into working outputs for heating, lighting and airing is passive solar system.
Direct: this simply refers to methods that involves a single alteration of sunlight to produce usable energy.
Indirect: methods that involves several conversions of sunlight to usable form of energy is indirect solar system.
Also Read: How Do Solar Panels Work
What is a Photovoltaic?
This is also known as solar cell. It is a device that transforms light into electricity with the aid of photovoltaic effect.
Solar Power Installation
Solar panels are attached to a house in order to receive the incoming electromagnetic radiation from the sun. usually the solar panel is mounted perpendicular to the arc of the sun in order to maximize its potentials. This form of electricity is efficiently used by connecting the solar panels to a grid tie inverter.
It is generally known that solar panels usually harvest more power during summer months due to the more sunlight in those periods.
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