Solar energy is a kind of energy that can be obtained from sunlight. It can also be obtained from heat. With the help of technology, one can utilize this abundant resource to produce energy. The technology of manufacturing solar energy is called green technology. Solar energy is utilized as the source of heat as well as electricity as this is most important ever to a number of people who are well known.
Solar energy can be classified into two categories:
• Active solar
• Passive solar
How is sunlight converted into solar energy?
A Photovoltaic method is a way to convert the sunlight into solar energy. This process is done by using a semiconductor material. Thermal technologies are yet another kind of method to obtain solar energy. These thermal technologies give two kinds of energy storing methods.
• The first method is the solar concentration method. It is usually used to drive thermal turbines.
• The other one is used in the air conditioning and solar water heating.
Once the sunlight is converted into solar energy, it can be utilized in the activities of the daily routine.
There are small particles present in the sunlight called photons. Absorption of photons takes place in the solar cells through the photovoltaic technology. This results in the conversion of current which is later converted into AC from DC.
How much of the world’s energy is solar?
To calculate the exact use of the world’s solar energy is nearly impossible because the ration of usage of solar energy is increasing rapidly all over the world. Over the past five years, the usage of solar energy has increased four times globally. In 2017, more than 97 GW was produced at the start of the year which was increased to 400GW by the end of the year. 400 GW is a 32% increase in energy when compared to 2016. In the past five years, the production of energy has quadrupled.
A major increase in the usage and production of solar energy was observed in China and the United States. In China, 53 GW and in US 51 GW were recorded respectively. Whereas, Japan falls in the third place with the production of 49 GW and Germany stood fourth in manufacturing 42 GW of solar energy. However, in 2018, Germany has taken the lead in using and producing the solar energy.
How can we generate solar energy at home?
Solar energy is indeed the cleanest and reliable form of energy that can also be obtained at home. The most common way of obtaining solar energy at home is to buy PV panels. These panels convert the sunlight into electricity. These PV panels can also store the electricity for a long time. The stored electricity can also be used at night which would result in some extra savings.
These PV panels can be installed on the rooftops of the house. The ideal place of installing the panels on the roof is the place where there would be no shade on the panels especially between 9:00 am to 3:00 pm when it is the prime time of the sun to shine. Panel facing south would gather more protons whereas; other orientations can also provide sufficient energy. There are many factors that cause the decrease in the production of power. If one is surrounded by tall buildings, trees or anything that causes shade, the production would be affected. The production of power would be decreased to half even if one of the 36 cells is covered.
In some cases, when there is no place for the PV panels to be installed on the rooftops, pivoting panels are designed. These pivoting panels stand on the central axis. These panels follow the sun wherever it goes allowing the maximum production of power.
The use of inverters is another method to obtain energy. The inverters are usually placed outside the house near the main electrical unit. One drawback of the inverter is that it makes a little noise while it is working. So, one must consider a proper place for the inverter if it is to be installed in the home. The purpose of the inverter is to convert the direct current into alternating current.
Which country uses most solar energy?
Many of the world’s advancing countries use solar energy because of its numerous advantages. Names of some of the countries that use solar energy the most are given below:
• United States of America
• Czech Republic
1. Germany is the leading country when it comes to the usage of solar energy. Germany has already planned to use solar energy only by 2050. Moreover, Germany is also the top buyer of the PV solar panels.
2. China is also one of the countries that produce the major part of its energy from the sunlight.
3. America has also shown interest in the solar energy. Almost 60% of the total installation of PV panels is in California.
4. Japan invested $9 billion in 2009 to encourage the use of solar panels.
5. Spain has not converted its mode of energy to solar energy as much as Germany has but still is making effort to use solar energy more and more for several years.
6. Italy is also making its progress towards the use of solar energy. Almost 9% of the energy used in Italy is solar.
The countries that are shifting to the solar energy are saving themselves for the future as this renewable resource is never going to run out. Moreover, the maintenance of these panels requires a lot of manpower and equipment which will lead to the generation of more jobs. This will be of great importance as the economy of the country will boost up. It will not only help the country to do well with electricity but it is good for the global warming as well.
If solar-powered vehicles are used, the release of toxic gases in the environment will be diminished leaving the fresh air to breathe. This fresh air will make the cities greener, reducing the common health problems among the people. So the solar panels not only produce power but have other countless advantages as well.