Solar panels absorbing energy from the sun.

What Are The Different Types Of Solar Energy?

In the past decade, more and more people are moving over to solar energy. It is considered one of the cleanest and most abundant sources of renewable energy on Earth. 

There are many reasons why people decide to install solar panels on their roofs, but first, we have to understand what different types of solar energy actually exist.

What is Solar Energy?

This is the radiant light and heat from the sun that falls on a surface. It can be harnessed for a variety of uses, including heating water, drying crops, and generating electricity.

Advantages of Solar Energy

It is Renewable

Unlike other sources of energy, you harness solar power everywhere daily. Therefore, it is no doubt that it will be available as long as the sun is there.

It is Cost-Effective

Because you will be getting your electric energy from solar power, the electric costs will drop. 

The amount you save depends on the size of the solar panels you install and the energy needs you have. 

The larger your solar system installation, the more you save on costs. The size is so that there is no limitation, as the sun will shine on as large a potion as possible.

It Has Diverse Applications

With solar energy, you can be sure of generating whatever you need. For example, you may decide to generate either heat or electricity. 

You can use Solar power to distill water, power satellites, and be integrated it into building materials.

Saves on Maintenance Costs

Once installed, the solar energy system requires little or no maintenance. You only need to ensure that the panels are clean to ensure penetration of solar energy. 

Therefore, you may need to do the cleaning every year. Also, some agencies offer cleaning services at a lower cost.

Technology Development

The solar power industry technology is advancing every day. The advancement promises a more efficient solar energy system shortly. Therefore, it is confident to invest in solar power.

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Types of Solar Energy

Photovoltaic Solar Energy

This kind of solar power dates its history back to the 1830s when it was discovered. 

The use of solar panels generates photovoltaic solar power. Solar panels are in opposition to covert solar energy to electric currents. 

Using solar panels has made photovoltaic energy one of the most familiar forms of energy. The solar panel comprises typically of solar cells. 

The solar cell system includes a group of solar PV panels connected to essential kits that turn solar energy into electric energy.

Also, it will help to note that more extensive and well-developed countries are rolling in using solar energy. 

Therefore, this should motivate you even to choose to use solar power. Also, developing countries are employing free solar energy to produce electricity. Asia is also at the forefront of installing solar panels, which predicted popularity in the use of power.

Fortunately, the government has put in place subsidies and incentives to promote a surge in the use of solar energy, even at home. 

Furthermore,  solar energy’s efficiency has risen to 200kWh. The efficiency is an advantage even in promoting the increase of solar power use. 

Also, solar panels are now thinner, allowing you to install them on the rooftops easily.

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Concentrated Solar Power

With technological advancement, large-scale installation that provides energy to the grid uses concentrated solar power. 

However, it is worth describing the little history behind this type of energy. Having a flashback to Archimedes’ time when he was using a burning glass, you can say that this type of energy uses lenses and mirrors to direct a more significant amount of sunlight to a certain point on the receiver. 

It experimented in 1866 when a parabolic mirror powered a solar steam engine. Later, a power system was created using a mirror dish in 1929.

With time, concentrated solar technologies have been divided into four; concentrating linear Fresnel reflectors, parabolic troughs, solar power towers, and dishes. 

Since the deploration of the first system in 1984, the number has significantly increased. Modern structures have been made more efficient even as it contains many mirrors. 

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The mirrors concentrate the energy from the sun at a single point which gets hot. The heat produced then drives a steam turbine to produce electricity. 

As a fact, this energy fits those countries that receive a lot of sunshine best.

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Water Heating Solar Energy

As we know, black color absorbs more heat. Scientists used the same knowledge to develop this kind of solar energy. 

The pioneers started by painting black on tanks that they used to heat water. The heat absorbed heats the water in the tanks. 

It is common to see water-heating solar energy in commercial, domestic, and industrial situations. 

You can heat a working fluid using a collector facing the sunlight. You can then pass the working fluid to a storage system to heat the water surrounding the pipes.

Research has shown that the heat a water heating system produces is proportional to the heat from the sun. 

Therefore, there is no doubt that those countries with warmer climates are more likely to benefit from this form of solar power. 

Also, it is worth knowing that installing water heating systems during sunny seasons pays back faster.

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Solar Pool Heating

As recreation remains an essential part of life, swimming should be kept in mind. As a person, it is expected that you will enjoy warm water more than cold water. 

However, keeping the pool warm remains an expensive thing to afford. Fortunately, maintaining the pool’s warmth is more accessible by converting sunlight to solar power. 

The use of solar power has been proven efficient since its first use in 1891. However, the cessation of its use was brought about during world war 2. Also, electricity had taken over.

Despite the knockback of World War 2, solar pool heating is back to use. This type of energy is reused due to the rising demand for warm water. 

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Photovoltaic solar panels containing heat conductors are used. The solar panels trap solar power from the sun. 

The solar energy is transformed into heat energy, which heats the water. Also, you should know that the system contains four components; solar collector, valve, pump, and filter. Water passes through these components. 

At the end of the features, the water will be hot. The hot water is poured back into the pool, thus warming the pool water. Solar pool heating enables saving on electricity costs.

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Thermal Solar Power

This is a form of energy that utilizes the heat from the sun in the collection of solar energy. 

A liquid flows through tubes to collect solar energy to produce electricity and heat water. This kind of solar energy was first discovered in 1890. 

Thermal energy powered a steam engine in the beginning. Years later, one of the pioneers invented a thermosyphon system. 

He achieved this by using a water tank with a collector positioned below it. Therefore, he could have access to hot water all through the day.

However, with thermal solar power, there are limitations when transferring heat from the sun. 

Among the many fluids tried, molten salt proves to be the best option. Molten salts work best with currently used turbines and are cost-effective, making them an excellent deal.

Also, thermal solar energy is space economical compared to photovoltaic solar power. 

Additionally, solar thermal energy offers up to 70% efficiency when it comes to heat collection. 

Also, heating water using solar thermal energy is ideal as the system uses a less complex technology.

Conclusion

Though there are many options for harnessing solar energy, the most common type of solar panel is known as a photovoltaic cell. 

The panels themselves are made from a thin layer of semi-conducting material, called a wafer or a slice. 

These wafers convert light into energy using the photoelectric effect. This energy can be used in its raw state or transformed into usable electricity.

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