What is Solar Energy?


What is solar energy? With rising energy costs, many homeowners are looking for ways to reduce their utility bills and use renewable energy sources to power their homes or even run the entire house with solar power.

In some states, you can actually get paid to produce electricity with solar panels on your roof or by utilizing other forms of renewable energy such as wind turbines or geothermal heating systems. In this blog we will discuss what is solar energy and how exactly does solar energy work? Keep reading to learn more about the different types of solar energy and how it can help you save money on your utility bills.

Understanding Solar Energy


Sunlight provides an almost inexhaustible supply of free, renewable energy to Earth. However, it is possible to convert sunlight into usable forms of energy through chemical reactions. This process requires a medium to absorb light from the sun and heat up in order for chemical reactions to occur.

Typically, common metals like copper or aluminum are used as heat-absorbing media, but these are not efficient enough for use in solar power plants. To make better use of sunlight, scientists have developed new types of metal alloys that can be heated more efficiently by sunlight.

These metal alloys are also cheaper than their counterparts made with expensive rare metals. Some examples include: amorphous silicon (amorphous silicon alloy), cadmium telluride (cadmium telluride alloy), copper indium gallium selenide (copper indium gallium selenide alloy) and so on.

How Solar Energy Work?



The sun shines onto a solar panel, and the PV cells absorb the energy from the sun and use that energy to power electronics in the panel. This electricity creates an electrical field that moves in response to a cell’s internal electrical field and causes current to flow through it.

Using the sun’s energy to generate heat, light, and electricity is called solar technology. Solar technologies use the sun’s energy to produce electricity and heat. They use either photovoltaic panels (solar cells) or reflectors and concentrators.

The cost of manufacturing solar panels has plummeted dramatically in the last decade, making them affordable and now even the cheapest form of energy. Solar panels have a lifespan of about 30 years. They come in a variety of shades depending on the type of material used in manufacturing.

Types of Solar Power

There are three types of solar power generation:

  1. Photovoltaic (PV),
  2. Concentrated solar thermal, and
  3. Solar hot water.

Photovoltaic or PV refers to any system that directly converts sunlight into electricity. PV effect was discovered in 1839 by French physicist Alexandre-Edmond Becquerel. It is also known as the photoelectric effect and electro-photonic conversion. In 1954, an American scientist Albert Einstein received a Nobel Prize for his explanation of how solar energy works based on his quantum theory of light. However, it wasn’t until 2007 that solar energy became widely used in society due to high costs and limited efficiency of solar panels.

Concentrated solar thermal systems use lenses or mirrors and tracking systems to focus a large area of sunlight onto a small area, typically a fluid-filled tube. This heats up a working fluid that runs through a conventional power plant to generate electricity.

Solar hot water systems use sunlight to heat up water for domestic uses such as bathing or washing clothes. These can be used in conjunction with other renewable energy sources or on their own if you don’t have access to other options. Solar energy has been around since before humans began writing down what they knew about science. For centuries, people noticed that light hitting different materials caused them to heat up—even before they understood why it happened.


Types of Solar Panels

There are many types of solar panels available today. Some of them are as under:

Mono-crystalline cells,

Poly-crystalline and

Amorphous silicon

The solar panels are available in several different shapes as well. They are generally made of silicon and glass, and their prices range from about $3,000 to about $30,000. There are so many varieties and costs of solar panels, which makes it difficult for consumers to choose the right one.

Categories Of Solar Panels

Solar panels can be divided into two categories –Residential and non-residential.

The residential solar panels are meant for homes. They are normally placed on rooftops or on house exteriors.

Non-residential solar panels are used in large installations. There are several benefits to installing solar panels. For example, they are affordable, energy-efficient, environmentally friendly, and sustainable. In addition, it helps to save money.

Types of Solar Power Systems

With power prices soaring as much as 40% over the past decade, many people are now realizing the benefits of going solar. Clean, renewable energy is at a fraction of the price that utility companies charge to use power from the grid.

In order to choose the best solar power system for your home, it’s important to understand the various types of solar power systems available so you know which one is best for your needs. There are three types of solar power systems grid-tied, off-grid, and hybrid.

Whether you have a big solar array or just want to learn more about home energy storage systems, you’ll be sure to find the right one for you.

Grid-tied Solar System


Connected solar systems are connected to the local utility company’s power grid. Grid-tied solar owners enjoy the benefits of a solar system with the security of their utility company, and they can even receive credit on their bills for excess energy production.

Off-Grid Solar System


Off-grid solar systems are not connected to an electric grid, and utilize battery storage systems to balance energy demands.

A house that uses an off-grid power system relies on solar energy. Home and business owners without battery storage systems wouldn’t be able to use electricity in the evening or at night. This power supply stores the extra electricity generated during the day and uses it at night to keep the lights on.


Hybrid Solar System


A hybrid solar system combines grid-tied and off-grid electricity generation.

These solar power systems can be used to create electricity or charge your smartphone, laptop, and other electronics. They also come equipped with their own battery storage system.  These systems are connected to the power grid, which is why they need their own battery storage system. When using a hybrid system, the ability to draw energy from either source (grid or battery) allows you to maximize the benefits of both sources.

Typical Uses for Electricity Created By Solar Energy

The three primary uses for electricity are:
(i) home,
(ii) industrial and
(iii) commercial.

Here’s a brief description of each use.

Solar energy can be used to heat chemical reactions or power turbines that generate electricity. Solar energy heats water to create steam that powers turbines in nuclear power plants.

The sun also heats gases in solar thermal power plants, which transfer their heat to liquids that spin generators to produce electricity. Some solar cells can directly convert sunlight into electrical current without using any moving parts or hot fluids.

Solar energy is renewable because it will never run out as long as there is sunlight on Earth. Fossil fuels, like coal and oil, are non-renewable resources because they take millions of years to form and can only be used once.

In addition, fossil fuels also release carbon dioxide into our atmosphere when they are burned for electricity, which contributes to global warming. A common use for solar cells is to power satellites in space that don’t have access to a constant supply of fossil fuels.

Solar energy has many advantages over other forms of renewable energy, such as wind or hydroelectric power:

  •  It’s cleaner than fossil fuel sources;
  •  It’s reliable;
  •  It doesn’t require water; and
  •  It can be produced in many places around the world.

Solar energy does have some disadvantages compared to other types of electricity generation:

  •  The sun only shines during daylight hours, so solar panels only produce electricity when it’s light outside;
  •  The technology is still relatively expensive compared to fossil fuels; and
  • The technology for storing solar energy for use at night hasn’t been perfected yet.

Solar energy is an environmentally friendly source of power that has become more common over the years. The power of solar panels depends upon sunlight, which is readily available. If we can’t get the sun, we can still use solar energy in different ways. Solar power systems have many advantages over traditional energy sources, including they produce no pollution, they create few greenhouse gas emissions,  they don’t need to be refined or transported  and they are free once you pay for them.

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