Our sun is the source of all life on Earth, and it provides us with energy in a variety of ways. The sun produces two types of energy: light and heat, which we may use for various purposes, including photosynthesis in plants, electricity generation via photovoltaic (PV) cells, and heating water and food. So, what are some of the applications of solar energy? Let’s look at some of how sunlight might help us in our daily lives.
This has become one of the most popular solar energy uses in recent years. Solar energy is becoming more accessible as solar panel costs fall and more people become aware of solar energy’s financial and environmental benefits. While still a small percentage of total electricity generated in the United States, solar electricity is fast expanding, according to the US Energy Information Administration.
Solar energy can also be used in water heating systems. The majority of solar water heating systems provide hot water used within the residence. Solar water heaters collect the sun’s heat and transfer it to the water tank via a rooftop cell. According to the US Department of Energy, solar water heaters have a five to ten-year payback period (DOE).
Solar space heating systems are commonly used to power radiant floors or heat a residence in conjunction with a Forced Hot Air (FHA) system. By considering the placement of windows and the materials used in the construction, passive solar home design can help heat homes and businesses in the winter.
Solar lights have become commonplace, with applications ranging from home landscaping to security lighting to road signs and street lights. These solar lighting systems for your house are inexpensive and widely available in simple to high-end designs from your local hardware store to internet shopping portals.
Solar-powered vehicles may be the way of the future, with buses, trains, planes, and race cars developed by students in Australia and the United States as examples. In 2019, an entirely solar-powered car will be available for purchase. Unless you buy an electric car or EV and charge it with solar panels, this use of solar energy is not currently generally available.
Renewable energy is already becoming more commonplace in our daily lives. Innovation will continue to generate new solar energy uses to improve our lives and help power a cleaner planet.
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