Solar Panel
Solar Mash
What is Solar Energy?

What is Solar Energy?

Explanation on what solar energy is, the make-up of solar energy and where solar power can be used

Posted on Wed, 03/9/2011 - 10:43 PM by Solar Mash Admin
viewed 16088 times

Solar energy is radiant light and heat emitted by the sun. Every day the sun radiates, or sends out, an enormous amount of energy.  Thus making solar energy an endless resource and represents a clean alternative to the fossil fuels.

How is Solar Energy created?

The sun is a huge star full of gases which is mostly comprised of hydrogen and helium atoms.  Within the sun's core, a process called nuclear fusion is created generating tremendous amounts of energy which is caused by hydrogen atoms in the core combining to form helium.

The nuclear reaction releases energy that travels outward from the core to the surface.  During the journey to the sun's surface, the energy then goes through a transformation which by the time it is released the energy is primarily light energy.  This light energy is what we refer as Sunlight. 

How long does it take for Solar Energy from the Sun to hit the Earth's surface?

According to NASA, Solar Energy travels at the speed of light - 186,000 miles per second. So, it takes about 8 minutes for it to reach Earth from the Sun.

How Solar Energy is used?

The most common ways of making use of solar energy is employing a system that involves a series of solar panels and storage batteries. The solar panels collect the solar radiation and store the solar energy into the batteries. While energy is stored, it can also be used for heating and electricity.

When converted to thermal (or heat) energy, solar energy can be used to:

  • Heat water — for use in homes, buildings, or swimming pools
  • Heat spaces — inside homes, greenhouses, and other buildings

Solar energy can be converted to electricity in two ways:

  1. Photovoltaic (PV devices) or "solar cells" change sunlight directly into electricity. Individual PV cells are grouped into panels and arrays of panels that can be used in a wide range of applications ranging from single small cells that charge calculator and watch batteries, to systems that power single homes, to large power plants covering many acres.
  2. Concentrating Solar Power Plants generate electricity by using the heat from solar thermal collectors to heat a fluid which produces steam that is used to power the generator. Out of the 11 known concentrating solar power generating units operating in the United States at the end of 2008, 9 of these are in California, 1 in Arizona, and 1 in Nevada. 

SOLAR ENERGY ARTICLES

  • Components: The Solar Panel is Only the Beginning

    Components: The Solar Panel is Only the Beginning

    There's a lot to know when it comes to building and installing a solar power system.  The components that go into a system are like the parts on a car in that they all work together for the same ultimate goal, but the quality of each component can make a big difference in performance.  

  • Guide to Choosing the Right Solar Installer

    Guide to Choosing the Right Solar Installer

    A solar power system is one of the biggest investments a homeowner will make, so it's important to make sure that everything is installed properly and built to last.  Components vary quite a bit in terms of electrical output, form factor and weight, but most panels will come with a 20-25 year warranty, making solar a long term investment, dependent on a strong foundation of a quality install. 

  • Why Professional Solar Installation Matters

    Why Professional Solar Installation Matters

    The age of the internet has also ushered in a new wave of DIY thinking.  Where in the past, information was a precious resource, today you can learn how to do just about anything with a couple strategic Google searches.   Just because you can learn how to do something, however, doesn't mean you should, and when it comes to installing a solar power system, or anything heavy you plan on putting on your roof, it's a good idea to always use the services of a professional installer. 

  • What to Expect From a Solar Site Installation Visit

    What to Expect From a Solar Site Installation Visit

    As you get a little closer to pulling the trigger on a solar power system, one of the final steps before actually purchasing a product is to have a professional installer come out to your home and do a site visit.  The purpose of this visit is to make sure your roof is appropriate for solar power, determine what kind and size of system you will need and then put together a quote that will show you the pricing and details of your new system.  While a good installer will walk you through this process, being a good consumer means having some solid information going into your site visit, so here’s a look at what you need to know before the installer arrives.

  • About Solar Shingles

    About Solar Shingles

    Green energy is a growing trend that helps the environment and can save you a lot of money over time.  Nearly every neighborhood in America will have at least one or two homes with solar panels on the roof, but some homeowners will resist adopting solar power simply because of the look of the panels.  Furthermore, although your homeowners insurance will cover your solar panels, installing anything onto your roof can often void your roof's warranty, discouraging some would-be solar converts.  This is where solar shingles come into play, and this new spin on a well-established technology makes a lot of sense for any homeowner considering the switch to solar. 

   

About Solar Mash

SolarMash.com is a comprehensive source of information about solar energy, solar power and solar technologies including solar panels. Read breaking solar industry news and informative articles about solar energy. Solar consumers are able to research a wide variety of reputable solar companies, including installers for residential and commercial installations.

Copyright © 2017 SolarMash.com™ - Solar Mash, LLC. All Rights Reserved.   |   contact@solarmash.com   |   Advertise   |   Privacy Policy   |   Terms of Service

Solar Cost   |   Solar Energy News   |   Solar Energy Articles   |   Solar Panel Installers   |   Free Directory Listing For Solar Panel Installers   |  Solar Projects   |   Solar Cell

Privacy Policy by TRUSTe