Types of Solar Energy & Solar Power

solar panels stacked

Sun is one of the Earth’s life support. Solar energy is the heat and light we get from the Sun, it is renewable, widely available and clean providing enough energy to meet the world’s annual consumption needs. The challenge is to collect a share of this heat and radiant energy. The two most common ways of looking at solar energy and its type are how solar energy is converted into useful energy and the type of energy it is converted into. In this article, we will talk in detail about the ways of how solar energy is converted into different types of useful energy along with the subtypes.

Two types of how solar energy is converted into useful energy are:

1. Passive Solar Energy

2. Active Solar Energy


Passive solar energy is the type of harnessing the sun without the use of mechanical devices. Using sun-facing windows to get natural lighting and heat the homes are an example of using passive solar energy. Meanwhile converting the solar energy into useful energy using mechanical devices, collection, storage and distribution of energy to be used in the future is called the active solar energy. There are several useful ways active solar energy can be used to take advantages from.

While we discuss the common ways of how solar energy can be used it is important to know the useful types of energy it can be converted into. There are three most useful types which are:

Solar Thermal Energy

This Energy is used to satisfy heating needs by capturing the energy of the sun for heating applications such as buildings, water or swimming pools. Solar thermal power can be used for traditional heating applications to satisfy human needs. 

In recent times many developments in solar thermal technology have been made which makes these systems more reliable and more efficient. New technologies are re-imagining solar thermal systems by incorporating photovoltaic (PV) components in it.

Solar Thermal Energy

Concentrating Solar Power

The type of solar thermal energy that is used to generate electricity. It is mostly used at large-scale energy production where flat or curved mirrors are installed over vast areas. The power plants produce electric power by converting the sun’s energy into high-temperature heat which is channeled through a conventional generator. The concentrating solar plants consist of two parts, the first one collects solar energy and converts it to heat, and the second one converts heat energy to electricity to be utilized to fulfill energy needs.

Concentrating Solar Power

Photovoltaic Solar Power

The type of energy is made by converting solar energy into electricity to be stored and utilized later. This conversion is done by using photovoltaic solar cells. Light hitting a photovoltaic cell is converted into electricity by semiconductors. A photovoltaic panel consists of several cells producing direct current, which is then converted into alternating current by an inverter. These Panels can be used in small systems or large plants to generate energy from the biggest renewable energy source; Sun.

Solar electricity, Photovoltaic cooling, Photovoltaic solar lighting are the solar applications we can use to take advantage of photovoltaic solar power.

Photovoltaic Solar Power
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