According to the Environment Protection Agency, solar energy is defined as energy derived from the sun's radiation. Solar energy sustains life on earth. It is also becoming increasingly common that this energy is converted and used as an alternative to fossil fuels. The two main forces of solar energy include active solar energy and passive solar energy. Active solar energy involves equipment or an action to convert solar energy into a useful form. One example of active solar energy is the use of solar cells to convert energy from the sun into electrical energy that can be used in the home.
The benefits of using solar panels for energy generation include the fact that solar energy is a renewable resource, the abundance of solar energy that reaches the earth and reduced electric costs. To recoup the cost of solar panels, many government programs have been created to offset installation costs, which can make solar panels more widely available. Additionally, the long-term savings on electricity costs can offset the expense of installing panels and storing solar energy and reduce overall dependence on fossil fuels like coal. As more companies manufacture batteries to store solar energy, solar panels continue to grow as a practical alternative to buying energy from power companies.
Solar power is stored in deep-cycle batteries or battery in a grid-tied system or in the power grid itself. Batteries can be utilized for both on-and off-grid systems. Batteries require four major components to function correctly and store solar power. Component one, the charge controller; prevents the batteries from overcharging when they are full. Component two, the actual battery, is a team of deep-cycle cells wired together. Deep-cycle batteries are built to last roughly ten years and be discharged up to eighty percent of their capacity on a regular basis.
Component three, the system meter, measures and displays the status of the collected solar power as well as the performance of the power. Component four, the main DC disconnect, acts as a breaker between the battery and the inverter that turns the solar energy into AC power. This breaker allows the battery bank to be disconnected.
Passive and active solar water-heating systems use water tanks to solar energy, just as swimming pool solar heat systems use the actual pool water to store the energy. Both types of systems are capable of using a thermal mass storage systems that accumulates solar energy during the day as heat and then releases it slowly for use at night.
Solar energy is important because the sun is a sustainable source of energy that can be used to power homes and business globally. Fossil fuels are finite, so it's important that alternative energy sources be embraced. As of 2014, it is widely believed that fossil fuels are causing global warming. Solar energy is a potential solution to the environmental problems being caused by fossil fuels. When fossil fuels are burned to generate electricity, they release harmful greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. The vast majority of scientists believe that continuing to depend on fossil fuels is going to cause serious environmental problems in the future.
Another important use for solar energy is in satellites. Many satellites are engineered with photovoltaic panels, which capture sunlight and convert it into electricity that is used to power the satellite. Solar power is also useful in areas where standard electricity is not available. For example, research facilities in Antarctica depend on sustainable energy sources, such as the sun and wind turbines, to generate power.
Emergency phone systems in remote places often use solar power as a dependable power source. Solar energy can also be used to power devices that run at night.