This day and age, conserving energy have become a high-priority task. The dearth of fossil fuels and natural resources combined with its greenhouse gas emissions has left us all thinking about an alternative source of energy. What could be better than the Sun, which is the largest energy source in our solar system? Humans have been tinkering with this ultimate energy source since the dawn of time.
Thanks to the technological innovations we have now build effective techniques to store and utilize the sun’s energy. You must be already aware of solar panel for converting sun’s energy into electricity. Similarly, there are a few other solar technologies, which can be used by every single home for conserving energy and saving money on utilities. Let us walk you through the various energy saving possibilities through solar energy.
Passive Solar Technology
Energy efficiency is the most lucrative approach to reducing the heating and cooling bills of your home, and passive solar technology exemplifies this. Passive solar technology is designed to reduce the heating and cooling loads of a building and then meets those requirements, partially or wholly, through solar energy. It takes advantage of climate, state-of-the-art material and the site of a particular building to minimize the use of energy.
According to a study conducted in Germany in 2003 on passive technology, the passive houses showed an average energy savings of up to 90% as compared to conventional homes. Can you imagine the reduction in your utility bills? Undoubtedly there is a substantial upfront cost for building a passive home or retrofitting an existing building with passive solar technology, but the reduced utility bills over the year more than makes for the initial costs.
Another upside of using passive solar technology is that it doesn’t involve the use of any electrical or mechanical device. Windows, walls, and floors of the building are designed to convert sunlight into usable heat during the winters and to cause air-movement for ventilating.
Solar Thermal Energy
Did you know that up to 75% of residential energy consumption in the US is related to water heating and space heating or cooling? Solar thermal energy is an economically viable and eco-friendly alternative, which can be used to simply eliminate the need for electricity to cool or heat the air and water in a home. If used effectively, solar thermal energy may just be the future of power supply globally.
To produce solar thermal energy two things are required: sunlight and solar thermal collectors, which can effectively trap, store and disperse the solar energy. It’s a simple process that involves placing solar thermal collectors on the roof to absorb the heat from the sun.
This heats up the water, which is then pumped through a coil into the cylinder to transfer the heat. Solar thermal collectors are classified as low, medium or high-temperature collectors. For residential use medium-temperature collectors with flat plates are used to heat water or air.
The solar photovoltaic technology harnesses the light from the sun to produce electricity. The process involves using semiconducting materials that exhibit a photovoltaic effect. When the semiconductors absorb sunlight, the solar energy knocks electrons loose from their atoms.
This allows the electrons to flow through the material and produce electricity without generating pollution. In many circumstances, photovoltaic modules mounted on the roof top of a building can effectively produce enough electricity for the building’s consumption.
To generate electricity through solar photovoltaic technology solar cells are combined into modules that can hold up to 40 cells. Several such modules are mounted in flat-plate PV arrays. These are either positioned at a fixed angle facing south or are mounted on a tracking device, which can follow the sun so that it captures maximum sunlight during the day.
There are other solar cells as well, which are designed to operate with concentrated sunlight. It uses a lens to focus the sunlight onto the cells.
Solar energy is one of the most readily available sources of renewable energy, and the fact that it is available in plenty and free and does not belong to anybody makes it an extremely important non-conventional energy resource.
There have already been significant breakthroughs in solar technology during the past years. Innovations which are presently being explored include the solar orb, solar cars, solar balloons, nanowires, and working with the infrared spectrum. These exciting advances in solar technology can play a crucial role in providing a pollution-free environment and a sustainable environment for our future generations.