Everything you need to know about solar energy

Among all energy sources, solar energy has the least detrimental effects on the environment. It does not damage the water or release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

Understanding solar energy

However, in contrast to nuclear power plants, for example, which need 20 times more water, it also uses a very little amount of water for maintenance.

Well, in this article I’ll be discussing about solar energy as the following questions will be discussed:

  • What is solar energy?
  • What are the facts about solar energy?
  • What are the characteristics of solar energy?
  • What are the types of solar energy?
  • What are the uses of solar energy?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of solar energy?

Let’s, begin!


What is solar energy?

Solar energy is the Sun’s radiation, which has the ability to create heat, trigger chemical reactions, or create electricity. The total solar energy received by Earth exceeds both current and future energy needs by a wide margin. Solar energy has the ability to meet all future energy needs if adequately implemented. Solar radiation can be transformed into electrical energy or thermal energy (heat).

However, the former is easier to do.

What are the facts about solar energy?

  • The efficiency of solar energy
  • It’s the cheapest energy
  • Panels can last up to 30 years
  • Panels produce energy without direct sunlight
  • It is the most abundant energy on earth

The efficiency of solar energy

In terms of the percentage of energy that can be turned into electricity, the majority of solar panels have an energy efficiency rating between 11 and 15%.

Furthermore, there are various solar panel kinds, and each model’s efficiency differs.

However, scientists have been able to increase the effectiveness of solar technologies, the public has not yet been given access to these improvements.

It’s the cheapest energy

Cheap renewable energy solutions are in high demand given the recent increase in energy prices worldwide! The good news is that solar energy costs have drastically decreased over the past ten years and are now 33% less expensive in the United States than gas electricity.

Panels can last up to 30 years

For the first 25 to 30 years, solar panels typically function at a high efficiency, but as soon as 6 years after installation, you can start saving money and realizing a return on your investment. Your panels’ performance will drop beyond this 30-year period, but they will never stop entirely converting sunlight into solar energy.

Panels produce energy without direct sunlight

What happens if it’s cloudy or raining? One of the major misconceptions that most people have is that solar power cannot produce electricity in poor weather.

However, with heavy rain and clouds, solar panels typically produce 10%–20% and 30%–50% of their maximum output, respectively. And did you know that commercial-scale solar fuel facilities already exist? Solar panels are used by Synhelion’s patented technology to convert sunlight into synthetic liquid fuel.

It is the most abundant energy on earth

The sun is the most abundant energy source on earth, and just 90 minutes of sunlight hitting the earth’s surface is enough to sustain global energy consumption for a full year, claims Scientific American.

However, solar energy utilizes extremely little area and resources to produce electricity, surpassing all other renewable resources combined (such as wind, hydropower, and geothermal).

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What are the characteristics of solar energy?

Solar energy is a clean, renewable, and limitless energy source. Since photovoltaic cells are a crucial part of the solar energy production process, detailed research on output characteristics is crucial in many ways.

What are the types of solar energy?

  • Passive Solar Energy.
  • Electricity Generation.
  • Thermal Energy.

Passive Solar Energy

Sunlight is used passively for a variety of purposes in addition to its active usage in the production of electricity and as a source of heat energy.

  • Agriculture and Horticulture.
  • Architecture and Urban Planning.

Agriculture and Horticulture

Since the period of the Roman Empire, when rudimentary greenhouses were used to produce cucumbers all year for Emperor Tiberius, greenhouses have been used to convert solar light to heat, enable the growth of crops that are not suited to a local environment, and enable year-round production. During the 16th century, the use of modern greenhouses spread throughout Europe where they were utilized to preserve exotic plants that were brought back from all over the world.

However, since the Roman era, when crude greenhouses were used to produce cucumbers all year round for Emperor Tiberius, greenhouses have been used to convert solar light to heat, grow crops that are not suited to a local environment, and enable year-round production. In the 16th century, the usage of modern greenhouses spread throughout Europe as people began to keep exotic plants that had been brought back from other parts of the world.

Architecture and Urban Planning

Since the ancient Greek and Chinese ancient civilizations built their structures facing south to provide the lightest and warmth, urban planning and design have taken into account sunlight. In order for passive solar architecture to function, a structure’s surface area, volume, direction, thermal mass, and shade must all be taken into consideration. When these elements work together optimally, they can provide well-lit areas with agreeable temperature ranges. Together with computer modeling, pumps, fans, solar lighting, heating, and ventilation technology, contemporary solar architecture also makes use of these passive techniques.

However, by putting in trees and painting roads and buildings white, urban areas with high temperatures caused by materials with high levels of solar absorption, like asphalt, can be cooled down. These passive cooling strategies lower the price of air conditioning and might even save money on medical expenses.

Thermal energy

Flat-plate collectors, which are used for solar heating applications, are among the most generally used technologies for capturing solar energy and transforming it into thermal energy. These collectors need to cover a lot of space since solar radiation at the Earth’s surface is so weakly concentrated. For example, a collector needs to have a surface area of roughly 40 square metres (430 square feet) to collect enough energy to meet the needs of one person even in bright portions of the world’s temperate zones. The most common flat-plate collectors are made up of a dark metal plate that is covered with one or two sheets of glass and heated by sunlight.

Furthermore, this heat is transmitted to water or air, known as carrier fluids, which pass by the plate’s back. The heat can either be transferred to another medium for storage or utilised immediately. Solar water heaters and home heating frequently employ flat-plate collectors. Using insulated tanks to store the water heated during sunny times is a traditional way to store heat for use at night or on gloomy days. Such a system can either deliver hot water taken from the storage tank or space heating by pumping warmed water through tubes in the ceilings and floors. Carrier fluids are commonly heated in flat-plate collectors at temperatures between 66 and 93 °C (150 and 200 °F). Depending on the collector’s design, the efficiency of these collectors—i.e., the percentage of energy collected that is converted into useful energy—ranges from 20 to 80 percent. Solar ponds, saltwater bodies intended to capture and store solar energy, are another source of thermal energy conversion.

However, to being used to produce chemicals, food, textiles, and other industrial goods, the heat recovered from these ponds can also be used to warm cattle barns, swimming pools, and greenhouses. The organic Rankine cycle engine, a relatively effective and affordable method of solar energy conversion that is especially helpful in isolated regions, is occasionally used to produce electricity through solar ponds. Solar ponds are typically only seen in warm rural locations because they are fairly expensive to install and maintain. On a lesser scale, solar ovens with specialized designs can also use the Sun’s energy to cook food. Solar ovens often focus sunlight from a large area onto a single point, where it is converted into heat by a vessel with a black surface. Usually portable, the ovens don’t need any additional fuel inputs.

  • Solar Water Heating.
  • Solar Process Heat.

Solar Water Heating

Water is heated using a solar thermal collector and sunlight in a process known as solar water heating (SWH). For solutions in various climates and latitudes, a range of configurations is offered at various prices. Residential and some industrial applications frequently use SWHs (For example: in Israel). A working fluid enters a storage system after being heated by a sun-facing collector for later use. SWH are both passive and active (pumped) (convection-driven). They either use water alone, water and a working fluid, or both.

However, they are heated either directly or with the use of light-focusing mirrors. They can run on their own or in combination with electric or gas heaters. Mirrors may concentrate sunlight into a smaller collector in large-scale setups. Global solar hot water (SHW) thermal capacity is 472 GW as of 2017, and China, the US, and Turkey are the market leaders. By capacity per person, Barbados, Austria, Cyprus, Israel, and Greece are in first place.

Below are the types of complexity and size of a solar water heating system:

  • Changes in ambient temperature during the day-night cycle.
  • Possibility of the potable water or collector fluid overheating or freezing.
  • Changes in ambient temperature and solar radiation between summer and winter.

Solar Process Heat

Sun Heat for Industrial Processes, or SHIP, is an initiative that refers to systems that supply solar heat in a factory. Solar radiation from a collector field heats a process fluid, and a heat exchanger delivers this heat to a factory supply system or manufacturing process as hot water, airflow, or steam.

However, the generated heat can be used at night thanks to storage devices.

Below are the main categories of solar thermal technology:

  • Sun collectors without glass.
  • Solar air collectors that exhale.
  • Solar panels with flat plates.

Electricity generation

Solar cells can directly convert solar radiation into electricity (photovoltaic cells). When light contacts the junction between a metal and a semiconductor (such as silicon) or the junction between two separate semiconductors in such cells, a small electric potential is produced. See the photovoltaic effect. A single solar cell normally only produces two watts of power. Yet, hundreds or even thousands of kilowatts of electric power can be produced in a solar electric plant or in a big domestic array by joining numerous individual cells together, as in solar-panel arrays. As the intensity of solar radiation is already low, most modern photovoltaic cells only have an energy efficiency of 15 to 20 percent, and in order to generate even modest amounts of power, large and expensive assemblies of these cells are needed.

Furthermore, surprisingly small photovoltaic cells that use natural or artificial light to generate electricity are widely used in low-power applications, such as watches and calculators. Bigger units have been used to power weather and communication satellites, remote communications systems, and water pumps. Homeowners and companies can install traditional crystalline silicon panels and cutting-edge thin-film solar cell technologies, such as building-integrated photovoltaics, on their rooftops to supplement or replace the traditional energy supply.

However, using concentrating, or focusing, collectors, concentrated solar power plants focus sunlight from a large region onto a small, blackened receiver, boosting the light’s intensity and generating high temperatures. A target can be heated to temperatures of at least 2,000 °C (3,600 °F) using an array of strategically positioned mirrors or lenses. When a boiler is powered by this heat, steam is produced for a steam turbine electric generator power plant. The moveable mirrors can be positioned to focus a great deal of solar radiation onto blackened pipes through which water is cycled and so heated in order to directly produce steam.

  • Concentrating Solar Power.
  • Solar Photovoltaic Technology.

Concentrating Solar Power

Solar energy is produced through concentrated solar power (CSP, also known as concentrating solar power or concentrated solar thermal) systems, which use mirrors or lenses to focus a lot of sunlight onto a receiver.

However, electricity is produced when concentrated light is transformed into heat (solar thermal energy), which powers a thermochemical reaction or a heat engine (often a steam turbine) coupled to an electrical power generator.

Solar Photovoltaic Technology

Solar energy is converted into electrical energy using PV materials and equipment. A cell is a single photovoltaic (PV) device. A single photovoltaic cell is typically a tiny device, with an average power output of 1 to 2 watts. These cells are frequently thinner than four human hairs and constructed of various semiconductor materials. Cells are sandwiched between protective materials in a combination of glass and/or plastics in order to endure the outdoors for a long time. PV cells are chained together to create bigger units known as modules or panels, which increase their power output. You can use modules individually or link several of them to create sets. The electrical grid is then linked to one or more arrays as part of a comprehensive PV system. This modular design allows PV systems to be developed to practically any size of electric power requirement. A PV system’s modules and arrays are merely one component.

However, to the components that convert the direct current (DC) electricity generated by modules into the alternating-current (AC) electricity used to power all of the appliances in your home, systems also contain mounting structures that direct panels toward the sun. California is home to the largest PV systems in the nation, which generate energy that utilities may then provide to their customers. The Topaz Solar Farm and Desert Sunshine Solar Farm both generate 550 megawatts of electricity, while the Solar Star PV power plant generates 579 megawatts.

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What are the uses of solar energy?

There are many uses of solar energy.

Below are the uses of solar energy:

  • Generating electricity.
  • Water purification.
  • Producing hydrogen.

It can also be used for heating, ventilation, and cooling.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of solar energy?


  • Technology Development.
  • Reduces Electricity Bills.
  • Diverse Applications.
  • Low Maintenance.


  • Associated with Pollution.
  • Weather Dependent.
  • Solar Energy Storage is Expensive.
  • Costs Uses a Lot of Space.

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What is the future efficiency of solar panels?

Prior to recent advances in photovoltaic technology, the average efficiency of solar panels was around 15%.

However, that efficiency ranges from 15 to 22%. Solar panels with high efficiency can even reach about 23%.

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What is the importance of solar system in human life?

Life is sustained every day by the energy provided by the sun’s rays. Similar to the well-known and commonly used solar energy, it gives us heat, light, health advantages, and a variety of other uses. The earth would simply be a rock without any life on it without the sun.

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What is the potential of solar energy?

Energy from the sun is not only nearly endless, but it is also a free source of energy (however it does require money to capture it and convert it into electricity). An average of 343 W/m2 of solar energy is received by the Earth’s surface.

What are 10 advantages of solar energy?

Below are 7 advantages of solar energy:

  • Cheap and easy to install (and getting cheaper all the time).
  • Low maintenance costs.
  • Reduce your impact on the environment.
  • Improves your energy security and independence.
  • It helps your green credentials and CSR.
  • They are silent and space-saving.
  • Significantly reduces energy bills.

What are the advantages of solar energy essay?

Given that it is a clean and sustainable source of energy, solar energy is crucial. This implies that it won’t cause any kind of harm to the planet.

However, it is accessible every day. It also doesn’t produce any pollution of any kind.

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What’s the future of solar?

Federal financing has poured heavily into the solar business to support initiatives that will bring down the price of solar technology. By 2030, the cost of solar energy will have been cut in half, if the funding has the desired impact. More families might adopt solar technology if it were more widely available and more reasonably priced.

What devices in the future will be solar powered?

Below are lists of the solar powered future:

  • Solar Windows.
  • Solar Cars.
  • Solar Roads.
  • Solar Water (aka Solar Desalination Process).
  • Solar Paint.

Will solar technology improve?

The efficiency of solar panels has increased significantly over time, and they continue to push the envelope every year. Solar energy continues to become more affordable at the same time. To explore your potential savings, start comparing customized solar estimates on the Energy Sage Marketplace.

What are the most important uses of solar energy?

Solar photovoltaics for electricity, passive solar architecture for space heating and cooling, and solar water heating are the most widely used solar technologies for residences and commercial buildings. Solar technology helps businesses and industries diversify their energy sources, increase productivity, and cut costs.

That is all for this article, where we’ve discussed the answers to the following questions:

  • What is solar energy?
  • What are the facts about solar energy?
  • What are the characteristics of solar energy?
  • What are the types of solar energy?
  • What are the uses of solar energy?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of solar energy?

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I hope you learn a lot from the reading. If you do, kindly share it with others. Thanks for reading; see you around!

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