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Solar energy is radiant light and heat from the Sun that is harnessed using a range of everevolving technologies such as solar heating, photovoltaic, solar thermal energy, solar
architecture and artificial photosynthesis.
It is an important source of renewable energy and its technologies are broadly characterized
as either passive solar or active solar depending on how they capture and distribute solar
energy or convert it into solar power. Active solar techniques include the use of photovoltaic
systems, concentrated solar power and solar water heating to harness the energy. Passive
solar techniques include orienting a building to the Sun, selecting materials with
favourable thermal mass or light-dispersing properties, and designing spaces that naturally
circulate air.
The large magnitude of solar energy available makes it a highly appealing source of electricity.
The United Nations Development Programmein its 2000 World Energy Assessment found that
the annual potential of solar energy was 1,57549,837 exajoules (EJ). This is several times
larger than the total world energy consumption, which was 559.8 EJ in 2012.[3][4]
In 2011, the International Energy Agency said that "the development of affordable,
inexhaustible and clean solar energy technologies will have huge longer-term benefits. It will
increase countries energy security through reliance on an indigenous, inexhaustible and
mostly import-independent resource, enhance sustainability, reduce pollution, lower the costs
of mitigating global warming, and keep fossil fuelprices lower than otherwise. These
advantages are global. Hence the additional costs of the incentives for early deployment
should be considered learning investments; they must be wisely spent and need to be widely
The Two Types of Solar Energy, Photovoltaic and Thermal. Photovoltaic technology directly
converts sunlight into electricity. Solar thermal technology harnesses its heat. These
different technologies both tap the Sun's energy, locally and in large-scale solar farms
. Solar panel refers to a panel designed to absorb the sun's rays as a source of energy for
generating electricity or heating.
A photovoltaic (PV) module is a packaged, connect assembly of typically 610 solar cells.
Solar Photovoltaic panels constitute thesolar array of a photovoltaic system that generates
and supplies solar electricity in commercial and residential applications. Each module is rated
by its DC output power under standard test conditions, and typically ranges from 100 to 365
watts. The efficiencyof a module determines the area of a module given the same rated
output an 8% efficient 230 watt module will have twice the area of a 16% efficient 230 watt
module. There are a few commercially available solar panels available that exceed 22%
efficiency[1] and reportedly also exceeding 24%.[2][3] A single solar module can produce only a
limited amount of power; most installations contain multiple modules. A photovoltaic system

typically includes a panel or an array of solar modules, a solar inverter, and sometimes
a battery and/or solar tracker and interconnection wiring.
The price of solar power has continued to fall so that in many countries it is cheaper than
ordinary fossil fuel electricity from the grid
There are many practical applications for the use of solar panels or photovoltaics. It can first
be used in agriculture as a power source for irrigation. In health care solar panels can be used
to refrigerate medical supplies. It can also be used for infrastructure. PV modules are used
in photovoltaic systems and include a large variety of electric devices:

Photovoltaic power stations

Rooftop solar PV systems

Standalone PV systems

Solar hybrid power systems

Concentrated photovoltaics

Solar planes

Solar-pumped lasers

Solar vehicles

Solar panels on spacecrafts and space stations

Solar power helps to slow/stop global warming. Global warming threatens the survival of
human society, as well as the survival of countless species. Luckily, decades (or
evencenturies) of research have led to efficient solar panel systems that create electricity
without producing global warming pollution. Solar power is now very clearly one of the most
important solutions to the global warming crisis.
Solar power saves society billions or trillions of dollars. Even long before societys very
existence is threatened by global warming, within the coming decades, global warming is
projected to cost society trillions of dollars if left unabated. So, even ignoring the very longterm threat of societal suicide, fighting global warming with solar power will likely save society
billions or even trillions of dollars.
Solar power saves you money. Putting solar PV panels on your roof is likely to save
youtens of thousands of dollars. The average 20-year savings for Americans who went
solar in 2011 were projected to be a little over $20,000. In the populous states of New York,
California, and Florida, the projected savings were over $30,000. In the sunny but expensive
paradise known as Hawaii, the projected savings were nearly $65,000!

Beyond solar PV panels, its worth noting that solar energy can actually save you
money in about a dozen other ways as well with proper planning and household design
Solar power provides energy reliability. The rising and setting of the sun is extremely
consistent. All across the world, we know exactly when it will rise and set every day of the
year. While clouds may be a bit less predictable, we do also have fairly good seasonal and
daily projections for the amount of sunlight that will be received in different locations. All in all,
this makes solar power an extremely reliable source of energy.
Solar power provides energy security. On top of the above reliability benefit, no one can
go and buy the sun or turn sunlight into a monopoly. Combined with the simplicity of solar
panels, this also provides the notable solar power advantage of energy security, something
the US military has pointed out for years, and a major reason why it is also putting a lot of its
money into the development and installation of solar power systems.
Solar power provides energy independence. Similar to the energy security boost, solar
power provides the great benefit of energy independence. Again, the fuel for solar panels
cannot be bought or monopolized. It is free for all to use. Once you have solar panels on your
roof, you have an essentially independent source of electricity that is all yours. This is
important for individuals, but also for cities, counties, states, countries, and even companies. I
was recently in Ukraine touring various cleantech initiatives and projects. While there, I
discovered that Ukraine in recent years has saved approximately $3 billion in reduced oil and
gas imports from Russia thanks to the solar power plants developed by a single developer.
Solar power creates jobs. As a source of energy, solar power is a job-creating powerhouse.
Money invested in solar power creates two to three times more jobs than money invested in
coal or natural gas. Heres a simple chart on that point:
Solar power disadvantages are actually not so plentiful. In fact, theres only one notable
disadvantage to solar power that I can think of. That disadvantage is that the sun doesnt
shine 24 hours a day. When the sun goes down or is heavily shaded, solar PV panels stop
producing electricity. If we need electricity at that time, we have to get it from some other
source. In other words, we couldnt be 100% powered by solar panels. At the very least, we
need batteries to store electricity produced by solar panels for use sometime later.
Solar energy is an important part of almost every life process, if not, all life processes. Since
solar energy is completely natural, it is considered a clean energy source. It does not disrupt
the environment or create a threat to Eco-systems the way oil and some other energy sources
might. It does not cause greenhouse gases, air or water pollution. The small amount of impact
it does have on the environment is usually from the chemicals and solvents that are used
during the manufacture of the photovoltaic cells that are needed to convert the sun's energy
into electricity. This is a small problem compared to the huge impact that one oil spill can have
on the environment.