Solar energy, in simple terms, refers to harnessing the sun’s energy and converting it into electricity. This energy can then be utilized to power a multitude of devices without any damage to the environment. Nowadays, solar energy has become a part of a variety of sectors.
There is a lot more to solar energy than just charging your devices. Solar energy is versatile and has managed to cover and excel in many sectors. There is little that most people know about what can be done with solar energy. Whether it is automobiles, devices, or large-scale solar farms, the examples for solar energy go far and wide. We have, thus, separated them into five major areas below.
Here are 5 common examples of solar energy usage.
1. Solar Energy Used in Households
In its simplest form, solar energy has been used to dry clothes and food for generations. These days, with the advent of photovoltaic cells, we can see many homeowners utilizing solar panels to power their homes. There is quite a lot of potential for solar energy from a residential point of view.
A. Water Heating
In terms of solar water heating, there are pool heaters as well as water heaters for showers. These have proven their efficiency as well as high affordability. The cost of running electric water heaters can drive a hole into your savings. This is why solar water heaters with their low operating costs can be a great switch for households.
In terms of lightings, there are solar lights for just about any setting. Whether you want to add a bit of ambiance to your patio or you want motion-security floodlights for safety, the solar market has it all. With decorative string lightings for any occasion as well as fountains, ponds, and flagpole lights, you should have no trouble finding the solar lighting that fits your needs.
C. Heating your House
In terms of heating your house, you can choose between active and passive heating. With active heating, you can use air collectors that gather solar energy and disperse the heated air. With passive heating, you can include materials with a high thermal mass into the build of your house. These will then retain heat and keep your house warm.
D. Cooling your House
Solar-powered cooling is another great example of solar energy. You can now find air conditioners that are powered fully by solar energy. Moreover, you can also find a multitude of ventilation fans that can run on very low voltage. This means that this high-efficiency product can also provide you with an effective cooling on cloudy days with minimum sunlight.
2. Solar Energy Used for Electricity
With the costs of solar panels plummeting by nearly 60% in the last ten years, electricity has been an excellent example of solar energy. In the last five years, the efficiency of these panels has risen from 17% to 23%.
In the USA, 2% of the total energy output was generated solely from solar power in 2018. Many residential houses, corporations as well as universities are now adopting solar energy as its benefits are being realized.
Solar installations offer great tax incentives as well as net metering benefits. Many states allow you to receive additional compensation for any extra energy produced by your solar panels. These photovoltaic cells are installed on your rooftops. You can then enjoy the energy produced by these cells.
3. Solar Energy Used for Transportation
Solar energy has tremendous potential in the transportation industry. There are already multiple projects that harness solar energy to power railroads. In fact, the space industry was one of the first to adopt solar energy to power their spacecraft as early as 1950. They certainly have given the rest of the transportation industry a challenge to keep up with.
But there are still developments like the Solar Impulse 2. It is a fully-solar powered airplane that completed an around-the-world journey successfully. Nowadays, hybrid solar buses also exist, which makes way for exciting new advancements for solar energy in transportation. With developments like these, it is clear that transportation is a great example of where solar energy can blossom.
4. Solar Energy Used for Technology
Technology has always kept up with the latest developments. As such, it comes as no surprise that solar charging kits exist. These are handy kits that come with small photovoltaic cells as well as connections that are versatile enough to match various devices. Solar energy is a great choice as an alternative charging method. Similarly, even for devices that may not have DC batteries, you can simply use an inverter and power nearly all electronic devices with solar energy.
It does not only have to be charging devices. Today, a wide range of solar technology is available, ranging from wireless solar speakers to solar-powered refrigerators and many more. Furthermore, with solar radios, telescopes, generators, keyboards as well as ovens, and much more, there is nearly a solar counterpart for every electrical appliance. The examples of solar energy in the field of technology are quite a lot, and it just keeps growing.
5. Solar Energy Used for Communities
Instead of having individual solar panels, there is now a concept of having solar farms that can benefit an entire community. This can be especially beneficial for people living in apartments or people with low storage for solar panels. This example is already being implemented in four states: California, Colorado, Minnesota, and Massachusetts. With many more solar plants providing high energy returns, we can expect solar farms to be a major example of solar energy in the future.
Examples of solar energy can be found in nearly every sector. It is one of the major reasons why green energy is quickly rising as the leading form of energy. The efficiency of solar-powered devices is on a consistent rise while the prices are seeing a sharp decline.
There are also many additional incentives being provided by the government to encourage the use of solar energy. As such, we are sure that many more solar energy examples are going to follow in the future.