| | | | |
     About Us > Solar Facts


What is solar energy?

Solar energy is the radiant light and heat from the Sun that can be harnessed using a range of ever-evolving transduction technologies. Solar radiation accounts for a substantial portion of renewable energy on earth along with secondary resources such as wind and wave power, hydroelectricity and biomass. Only a fraction of the available solar energy is used.

Solar power is typically converted into electrical energy by means of heat engines or photovoltaics. Once converted, its uses are as expansive as there are electrical and electronic applications. Some of the more common solar applications includes space heating and cooling through solar architecture, potable water via distillation and disinfection, daylighting, hot water, thermal energy for cooking, and high temperature process heat for industrial purposes.

Solar technologies are broadly characterized as either passive solar or active solar depending on the way they capture, convert and distribute sunlight. Active solar techniques include the use of photovoltaic panels and solar thermal collectors (with electrical or mechanical equipment) to convert sunlight into useful outputs. Passive solar techniques include orienting a building to the Sun and selecting materials with favorable thermal mass or light dispersing properties.

  • Solar energy is a renewable resource.
  • Solar energy does not generate any harmful substances as by products.
  • Sunlight is free and omnipresent, albeit in varying concentrations.
  • Energy conversion technology is simple and efficient.
  • Solar power systems are relatively easy to install.
  • The systems are very low maintenance: they have no moving parts
  • Solar systems require very little "monitoring" for routine operation.
  • Accurate solar energy system simulation is possible
  • The systems are quiet and increasingly unobtrusive.