Scientists found a way to harness the sun’s energy when coal deposits were low in the mid-19th century. Also, they discovered the photovoltaic effect, which led to the introduction of solar cells.
Now, we have various solar energy technologies. Besides cutting down electricity bills, solar power is useful in other ways. We’ll discuss different solar energy examples and more in this article.
Why is Solar Energy Popular Today?
Solar panel array
Also, solar energy works for heating applications. So, instead of converting the sun’s energy to electricity, such applications transform it into heat. Therefore, you can use solar in devices like home and water heaters.
15 Solar Energy Examples
Solar energy is incredibly versatile. And you can enjoy the technology without using it to power your home. Here are fifteen excellent solar energy examples.
Solar charger powering a phone
These chargers feature solar panel systems that generate the DC power required by most rechargeable batteries. Interestingly, solar chargers have ports that connect rechargeable devices for quick charging.
Additionally, you can use a DC to AC inverter for devices requiring AC power. Also, various solar charger sizes and capacities depend on your needs.
Solar-powered Exhaust Fans
House with solar panels and ventilation fans
Typically, exhaust fans work for indoor areas with no air conditioning. Also, these devices are effective alternative cooling systems, but they increase utility bills quickly.
Since exhaust fans may run for extended periods, purchasing solar-powered variants is a more efficient option. So, instead of drawing power from the grid, solar-powered exhaust fans use energy from solar panels.
Further, the panels generate enough power to run the exhaust fans with enough sunlight. Additionally, you can also use solar technology with regular fans.
Pumping water requires a lot of electricity, especially when operated for a long time. However, pumps are compatible with solar technologies.
Although setting up a solar-powered pump may be more expensive upfront, its operating costs are minimal. More importantly, solar-powered pumps feature in-build batteries to help store energy. Interestingly, batteries are crucial for continuous usage on cloudy or rainy days.
Solar cookers are pollution-free alternatives to cooking food outdoors (at home or on trips). These innovations harness the sun’s UV rays to provide enough heat for cooking applications.
Some popular types include solar parabolic, panel, and box cookers. Also, these types offer different ways to capture solar energy, giving them various efficiencies.
Interestingly, you can make a DIY solar cooker. All you need is styrofoam, a cardboard box, and aluminum foil. Further, the aluminum foil helps to attract solar energy and transfer it as heat energy to the pan.
Solar Water Heating for Swimming Pools
Swimming pools are not fun when the temperature is freezing. But water heaters can make the experience more comfortable. Thankfully, you can also use solar power to heat swimming pools.
And there are two options. First, you can use a solar blanket to cover the pool’s surface. This equipment captures solar energy to keep the water warm during the day. And it also retains heat for night swimming.
However, you’d have to remove it before using the pool and restore it after. You can avoid this hassle by using the second option: a solar-powered water heater for swimming pools.
Solar Outdoor Lighting
Solar outdoor lighting
Outdoor lighting is one of the best uses of solar energy. Usually, you’ll only need solar panels and batteries to generate and store power.
These outdoor lighting fixtures get constant exposure to sunlight–except on rainy days. Additionally, different bulbs require various capacities. And how long you’ll use them at night also determines your needed capacity.
The fun part about pocket calculators is that they feature solar cells to help minimize battery use. In truth, indirect sunlight would suffice for most solar pocket calculators.
Additionally, some variants have dual-power capabilities, allowing you to use them in areas with poor lighting.
Solar panels on a roof
One of the most popular solar energy examples is roof solar. Installing solar roof saves you a lot of money by reducing energy costs, usage, and carbon footprint.
Roof solar panels are one of the prerequisites for installing the system in your home or office. Also, you can hook up an inverter and batteries to ensure your space receives a constant power supply.
Technology has advanced to the point where we can use solar energy to power transportation systems. Such advancements are available in railways, airplanes, cars, buses, and trucks.
Moreover, solar transit proves that the sun’s energy is an effective alternative to fuel and gas. For instance, aircraft like the Solar Impulse 2 traveled worldwide on solar power only.
Wearable Solar Tech
Solar energy power electronic devices like thermostats, freezers, clothes dryers, and more. Other wearables like watches and Fitbits are quickly adopting solar technology as well.
Wearable solar tech eliminates the need to charge every night, making them more attractive and effective.
Like outdoor lighting, solar energy powers indoor lighting as well. In truth, most solar lamps come with miniature panels that capture sunlight.
However, since these bulbs are indoors, you’d need to position them correctly to receive enough sunlight. Alternatively, you can use indirect sunlight to charge these lamps due to their small size.
Solar water heater
Besides cooking, heating water, and swimming pools, solar systems can keep houses warm during summer. Solar space heating systems come from radiant floors or pair with FHA (forced hot air) systems.
Further, you can opt for passive solar home designs for a warm living environment. Instead of using solar cells, you’ll have windows and building materials capable of retaining solar energy to regulate heat.
Solar Water Heaters
As mentioned earlier, you can use solar energy to run water heaters. But, instead of making pools warmer, these solar water heaters provide hot water for use inside homes.
This system utilizes cells from the rooftop to capture heat from the sun, transmitting the hotness to the tank. Interestingly, these solar-based water heaters are durable enough to last anywhere from five to ten years.
Concentrated Solar Power
CSP (concentrated solar power) is a setup involving reflectors. Lenses and mirrors are perfect examples of CSP reflectors, concentrating sunlight into small beams. Also, the system includes trackers that follow the sun’s movement.
Additionally, the small beam serves as a heat source combined with a fluid to create electricity. Technology compatible with CSP includes Stirling dishes, fresnel reflectors, solar power towers, and parabolic troughs.
Solar-powered Fuel Production
Solar energy is also useful for fuel production. The sun’s power can drive chemical reactions to generate transportable and storable fuels. Interestingly, you can use photochemical or thermochemical techniques to produce various fuels.
Is Solar Energy Better than Grid Power?
Solar energy is a better option as it offers a way to generate electricity without grid power. Also, solar power is renewable and would cost nothing to use (apart from the upfront and installation costs).
There are a ton of solar energy examples that are fast replacing grid power by offering more cost-effective ways to generate electricity. Solar energy has other uses, like providing mobile power and running power-hungry devices.
Also, you can use batteries and inverters to store and use solar power. Batteries and inverters are great backups for conditions with little or no sunlight.
Do you have more questions? Feel free to reach us, and we’ll be happy to help.