What Is Solar Energy? Excellent Question. Here's The Answer.
What is solar energy? What, indeed. Well, the simplest definition would be the fact that it's radiant light and heat derived from the sun, which has been harnessed by mankind using various technologies throughout the ages to produce electricity. The sad fact is that only a minute part of the solar energy available has ever been used.
You Are The Sunshine Of My Life
Much as we humans need sunshine for our bodies to produce Vitamin D, in the same way sunlight is necessary for us to be able to harvest electricity via photovoltaic (PV) technology or solar thermal collectors, using either electrical or mechanical equipment.
These are examples of active solar technologies, as opposed to passive solar technologies, which are means of using sunlight for useful energy without use of active mechanical systems.
Passive solar technologies include such things as solar water heating systems based on the thermosiphon (the method by which liquid is circulated in a vertical closed-loop circuit without requiring a conventional pump), solar cookers and solar chimneys.
Energize Me, Scotty!
Basically, it all boils down to harnessing the energy supplied day in, day out by the sun, and putting it to use to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels as we move towards a world in which renewable energy becomes more and more a factor in supplying the power we need to live our daily lives.
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