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Solar Energy Facts Everybody should Know

Updated on August 8, 2010

Solar Energy Facts Everybody should Know

Many people know about solar energy but they do not quite understand the concept. Energy from the sun has been used for very many years now, both knowingly and unknowingly. In the 1800’s, explorers collected heat from the sun using special heat collecting boxes to cook food while they were on safari in Africa. Solar power mainly involves collecting light and heat from the sun rays and using it both in homes and in offices for very many uses. A very miniscule portion of the energy from the sun is actually harnessed by people according to studies that have been conducted.  This is mainly because some people in developed countries have all the power they require that they do not see the point in harnessing energy from the sun while other countries do not have the technology required to do it.

Photovoltaic devices and heat engines are used when people harness energy from the sun. These technologies can either be passive or active technologies based on the way they harness and convert the energy. Photovoltaic devices and solar cells are known to convert the energy into electricity and can be used to power watches and calculators. Solar energy technologies that are manufactured as well as these photovoltaic devices are classified into active technologies while building materials or designs used to make harnessing of energy from the sun easier are classified into passive technologies. They include materials that allow dispersion of light as well as designs that make it possible for light to fill a room or an office.

There are many ways that people all over the world use solar energy. Lighting is the most commonly used application. The amount of artificial light that is required in a room is minimized when windows and skylights are incorporated into a building. Another common application is the use of solar heaters to heat water and also to heat up rooms. Swimming pools can also be heated in this way. An active solar power harnessing technology that involves solar panels is used in converting energy from the sun into electricity. However, there is a drawback involved in this technology in that certain parts of the world receive sun rays at certain times of the year based on the season, location and weather condition. This forces people who receive the sun rays to harness as much of it as possible during the period the sun is shining.


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