The Sun produces radiant energy that can be used to power homes and businesses. It can also provide hot water and heat.
Solar technologies have environmental, social and economic benefits. They can help reduce our dependence on nonrenewable resources that often endanger the environment and human health. However, they are still not a complete solution.
The sun’s energy powers buildings by transforming sunlight into electricity through photovoltaic, or PV, panels. Buildings reliant on solar can reduce their reliance on the power grid, especially when supplemented with battery storage to maintain electricity during cloudy days and after dark.
Unlike fossil fuels, clean solar energy doesn’t release greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change, and it can be used in places where channeling power from the grid isn’t practical or possible. Combined with smart grid technology, solar energy helps people save money on their utility bills while supporting a sustainable future.
Solar power can also help alleviate poverty by providing access to affordable, clean energy in developing countries, where high-quality electricity is a luxury. By switching to solar, you can make a difference in the lives of those living in extreme poverty and help keep our planet a place where we all want to live. Solar is a renewable, clean and sustainable resource that is the most effective way to reduce carbon emissions and protect the environment.
Solar Hot Water
Solar hot water systems heat water with the sun’s energy to reduce domestic energy consumption and carbon emissions. They’re perfect for homes and businesses that use a lot of hot water, especially during the day.
In indirect solar hot water systems, the sun’s energy heats a transfer fluid in the collectors which is then heated and circulated to a storage tank where it is used for domestic or commercial water heating. Direct solar hot water systems, on the other hand, heat the water directly.
Both systems have a range of benefits for households and businesses, including cost savings and the availability of power during peak demand. SWH systems can also help you qualify for utility “green” energy programs.
Solar heating systems use the sun’s thermal energy to reduce or even eliminate your monthly energy bills. They work to heat your home, and can even provide domestic hot water, depending on the size of your system.
Solar space heating works in two stages:
First, windows facing the south allow sunlight to enter a building, and warm up by conduction. Then, solar heat is absorbed by dark surfaces, such as the collectors on a roof or in an air-conditioning unit.
A circulating pump is operated by a controller to bring a fluid, such as water or non-toxic propylene glycol, through the collector at appropriate times. The resulting heated fluid is used to supplement the existing heating system.
Another type of solar heating, known as a transpired air collector, involves dark, perforated metal plates installed over a building’s south wall. A fan draws air through the holes, and the absorbing surface warms it up quickly on sunny days.
In areas with abundant sunshine, solar cooling can be a cost-effective and environmentally responsible alternative to conventional air conditioning.
Energy-efficient systems use the Sun to cool buildings by converting solar thermal energy into refrigeration or air conditioning using a working fluid (often water plus food-grade antifreeze). This avoids electricity consumption and GHG emissions associated with electricity production. It also avoids the use of CFCs and HCFCs, which are under the Montreal Protocol due to their harmful effects on the ozone layer.
Most modern solar-cooling systems incorporate thermal energy storage to allow the system to operate during cloudy and low-sunlight periods. This is possible because the system uses an absorption or adsorption chiller rather than a conventional compressor. This allows the refrigerant to absorb heat from a solar collector during daylight hours, then expand into a gas state in an evaporator at high pressure. The process is then reversed for nighttime operation. These systems require minimal electrical energy, using only low amperage fan motors and pumps to move the thermal transfer fluid through the system.Star Plus Energy