is solar energy?
energy is sunlight - without it there would be
no life on Earth. The sun itself was formed about
4600 million years ago, it is so big that planet
Earth would fit inside it a million times. This
enormity creates huge pressure deep inside it
and releases colossal amounts of heat and light
energy (electromagnetic waves), which streams
out into space in all directions. A small fraction
of this energy travels about 150 million-kilometres
and takes just over 8 minutes to reach Earth.
The oceans and land closest to the equator absorb
much of this energy.
a 24-hour period the Earth receives enough energy
from the sun to power everything on our planet
for the next 96 years!
can we use solar power?
of this vast source of clean, renewable energy
can be harnessed and converted to help meet our
demand for electricity and heat.
Using three main technologies we can exploit this
Photovoltaic (PV) cells, which convert sunlight
directly into electricity.
Solar Heating systems,
which use collectors (usually on the roofs of
buildings) to absorb the suns radiation and transfer
it to heat water in a tank.
Solar Design, which is designing and modifying
buildings to trap more of the sun's natural heat
in the winter months whilst not overheating during
big advantage solar power has over other energy
sources is that it's excellently geographically
dispersed - providing a better match to human
energy needs. Solar installations can be planned,
built and generating electricity close to where
they're needed avoiding costs and transmission
losses associated with other energy sources.
can generate their own electricity, heat and hot
water using Photovoltaics, passive solar design
and active solar heating systems. Future developments
could see buildings, which are totally self-sufficient,
storing their own energy reserves and not reliant
on any external grid-connected electricity.
many situations solar power is the most cost-effective,
efficient and only form of renewable energy waiting
to be tapped.