Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Applications of solar energy

The energy from the sun called solar energy can be put to a number of uses.

All devices based directly on solar energy use the rays of the sun for their operation. It is a known fact that black surfaces are the best absorbers of solar energy. Therefore, solar energy devices use reflectors to reflect the sun’s rays on to a blackened surface. The various devices of solar energy are solar heaters, solar dryers and solar cells.

Solar energy can be used to cook food in a device called a solar cooker. Solar energy is also used for heating water for domestic use, space heating of buildings, drying agricultural products and generating electrical energy.

Solar thermal power plants use sun’s rays to heat water and produce steam. The steam so produced is used to rotate turbines to generate electricity.

Buildings designed for day lighting have large south facing windows and the building materials used are such that they can absorb solar energy and then slowly release it. For concentrating solar energy, reflecting materials such as mirrors are used to concentrate the sun’s energy. This concentrated solar energy can then be used to generate electricity.

Solar cells which directly convert sunlight into electricity are made up of semi conducting materials. These cells can be used to make traffic lights, watches and calculators. They can also be used to light houses and provide power to electric grid.

Applications of solar energy are many and this source of energy can further be explored to be put to a number of uses.

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