What is Solar Energy? The Basics You Need to Know

The use of solar energy has increased significantly in the last couple of decades. Solar energy offers a more eco-friendly than non-renewable energy sources like fossil fuels.

Solar energy is accessible to the everyday individual through the installation of solar panels in the home. Many people are choosing to find a local solar panel installer and get solar panels on their rules or in their gardens to provide ongoing renewable energy to power their properties.

In this article, we are going to discuss what solar energy is and what the future of this renewable energy source looks like as we continue through the 21st century.

benefits of REC solar panels

What is Solar Energy?

Solar energy is the type of energy that is obtained from the light and heat emitted by the Sun. It can be harnessed and converted into usable energy to provide a sustainable way to power homes and businesses.

There are a few different types of technologies that can be used to harness solar energy. The three main types of technologies are photovoltaic systems, solar thermal systems, and passive solar systems.

Photovoltaic (PV) systems

A photovoltaic system is a type of technology that converts sunlight directly into electricity via solar cells made from semi-conductive materials like silicon. These cells capture the energy from some mites and release electrons to generate an electron current.

Solar thermal systems

Solar thermal systems harness the Sun’s energy to generate heat, which can be used for heating water and homes or producing steam for electrical production on a larger scale. The two main types of solar thermal systems are concentrated solar power (CSP) and solar water heating systems.

CSP systems use mirrors and lenses to concentrate sunlight onto a small volume of fluid. Doing so causes the production of steam that can power a turbine, which, in turn, powers an electricity generator.

A solar water heating system uses sunlight to heat water, providing hot water for residential use.

Passive solar systems

Passive solar systems don’t require electrical or mechanical processes to produce electricity. Instead, they use certain materials to capture light, heat, and energy, store this energy, and distribute it appropriately.

A common example of a passive solar system is a large window, which maximises the amount of natural light and heat entering a room. Architects may place windows in a building such that they face the side of the building that receives the most sunlight.

solar energy basics

What Are the Benefits of Using Solar Energy?

So, why should you switch to using solar energy over other forms of energy? Here are some of the key benefits of going solar:

  • Solar panels and solar battery storage are suitable for most homes
  • Solar energy is a renewable source of energy that reduces the need for non-renewable alternatives, such as fossil fuels
  • Solar energy is better for the environment than the use of fossil fuels for electricity
  • Solar panel installation can reduce the cost of energy in your home or commercial building
  • Solar panel grants are available in the United Kingdom
  • Solar panels on your property provide some resilience to main grid power cuts or outages

Going Green with Solar Power

There is no question about it; fossil fuels are still prevalent today. However, when it comes to long-term power and energy solutions, there are other viable options. Although many countries, businesses, and households have adopted renewable forms of energy such as wave, wind, and solar, there is still ground that needs to be covered. Additionally, there are plenty of benefits to adopting solar power.

benefits of solar power for communities

Doing Your Part for a Healthier Planet

Solar power, which we can harness thanks to the ingenious invention of the solar panel, is a renewable form of energy that never runs out (unless there are extended periods of cloud cover). If you are a homeowner or company and wish to do your part in being a part of the solution, consider installing solar panels.

One thing you are more than likely pondering, however, is the cost of implementing solar power in your home, business, or in aid of your community. And this is a definite factor when deciding how and where people acquire their electrical needs. However, over time, the panels pay for themselves, which ultimately leads to saving money.

In the end, the importance of using renewable energy cannot be stressed enough. People can quickly reduce their carbon footprint by opting for this form of power, which has a ripple effect. If more people choose to install solar panels to supply their electrical needs, the demand for the burning of fossil fuels will decrease drastically.

Solar Power and the Upliftment of Communities

Other benefits and subjects of importance for this energy source are that it can lead to community development and upliftment. Those living in urban areas with electrical infrastructure may take this for granted. Many communities do not possess the luxury of tapping into this, and this is one-way solar can be of immense help.

It leads to schools being able to offer access to electronic means of learning and access to resources, such as children being able to utilize the internet and engage with computer programs.

People in rural areas are allowed to do everyday tasks. These may include cooking, lighting their homes, washing and ironing clothing, watching television, communicating with people via the internet, and using appliances such as fridges to keep food fresh.

what is community solar

What is Reaped from Solar Power

This is but the tip of the iceberg. There are numerous reasons to consider solar power. Leading on from the previous points, you will play your part and may wear the badge of honor that you are socially and environmentally responsible.

After the initial payout, solar panels only rely on the sun to generate electricity. Your electricity bill will lower or potentially even allow you to go entirely off-grid, leading to years of future savings. The best solar panels last an incredibly long time, some even up to 25 years. The batteries where the power is stored may need replacing more frequently, but they also have good lifespans.

The price of installing solar is on a general downward trend, which is more than likely due to an increase in demand, allowing suppliers to sell them at a cheaper cost. When it comes to producing solar panels, you will be glad to hear that the energy used to make them is far outweighed by their eventual output.

Consider Joining the Solar Revolution

Humanity has long had to be coerced into doing things that are good for our planet, our home.

Earth is still the only habitable planet we know of. It deserves care and a dedication to seeking viable options to ensure that future generations are left with a healthy and sustainable world. And to top it all off, solar power can supply communities with off-grid electricity where they would not have had it before.