Solar energy is the energy in the suns radiation and it can be captured and turned into useful forms of energy, such as heat and electricity using different types of solar energy technologies. The most common types of solar energy technologies used are solar heating system and solar photovoltaic system.
Solar heating system
The heat from the sun is used in two different ways, passive heat and solar thermal. Passive heat is the heat received from the sun naturally. This can be taken into account when designing energy efficient buildings, so that less additional heating is required.
Solar thermal system uses the energy in the sunlight and provides heat which is used to heat water for homes and swimming pools. Solar thermal system uses solar collector pipes with liquid medium inside the pipes. The pipes are then connected to the household’s water tank. When the liquid medium in the solar collectors is heated by the solar energy, it flows down and heats the water in the tank through a heat exchanger. The liquid medium in the pipes circulate in the system and carry the heat from the solar collectors to the water tank. When solar thermal system is used to heat water in swimming pools, the water in the pools is heated direct by the solar collectors.
Solar power system
Solar power system, also known as solar photovoltaic (PV) system uses suns energy and converts it into electricity that is used to power electrical appliances and lighting at homes, businesses and industries. Solar photovoltaic system required sunlight to produce electricity, and generate electricity even at cloudy days, but the energy production is highest at bright sunlight. The electricity that is produced by the PV system during daytime is used by the connected loads, and the surplus is stored and it is used later in the evening when the PV system is not producing electricity.
Solar Photovoltaic system required minimal maintenance as there are no moving parts that can break and had to be replaced. There is no need for oil changes and fuel refilling either. It is therefore very simple to use and maintain solar PV system, provided it is designed and sized properly for its purpose.