Solar

Solar

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Solar energy refers to technologies that convert the sun's heat or light to another form of energy for use.

Solar

Definition

Solar energy is the most abundant, renewable energy source in the world. Solar energy systems refer to technologies that convert the sun's heat or light to another form of energy for use[1]US. Department of Energy. “Solar Energy Technology Basics”. August 16, 2013. http://energy.gov/eere/energybasics/articles/solar-energy-technology-basics US. Department of Energy. “Solar Energy Technology Basics”. August 16, 2013. http://energy.gov/eere/energybasics/articles/solar-energy-technology-basics [2]National Renewable Energy Lab. “Solar Energy Basics”. July 25, 2014. http://www.nrel.gov/learning/re_solar.html National Renewable Energy Lab. “Solar Energy Basics”. July 25, 2014. http://www.nrel.gov/learning/re_solar.html .

There are two categories of technologies that harness solar energy, Solar Photovoltaics and Solar Thermal.

Solar Photovoltaic (or PV) is a technology that converts sunlight into direct current electricity by using semiconductors[3]US. Department of Energy. "Photovoltaic Technology Basics". August 16, 2013.  http://energy.gov/eere/energybasics/articles/photovoltaic-technology-basicsUS. Department of Energy. "Photovoltaic Technology Basics". August 16, 2013.  http://energy.gov/eere/energybasics/articles/photovoltaic-technology-basics. In contrast, Solar Thermal is a technology that utilizes the heat energy from the sun for heating or electricity production[4]US. Department of Energy. “Concentrating Solar Power Basics”. August 16, 2013. http://energy.gov/eere/energybasics/articles/concentrating-solar-power-basicsUS. Department of Energy. “Concentrating Solar Power Basics”. August 16, 2013. http://energy.gov/eere/energybasics/articles/concentrating-solar-power-basics.

Context

Solar is a renewable resource and does not emit any greenhouse gases in the energy generation process. However, the cost of solar in relation to other fuel sources is a barrier to adoption. Additionally, sunlight varies depending on geographic location, season, and time of day, which all creates limitations on its use.

References

  1. ^ US. Department of Energy. “Solar Energy Technology Basics”. August 16, 2013. http://energy.gov/eere/energybasics/articles/solar-energy-technology-basics 
  2. ^ National Renewable Energy Lab. “Solar Energy Basics”. July 25, 2014. http://www.nrel.gov/learning/re_solar.html 
  3. ^ US. Department of Energy. "Photovoltaic Technology Basics". August 16, 2013.  http://energy.gov/eere/energybasics/articles/photovoltaic-technology-basics
  4. ^ US. Department of Energy. “Concentrating Solar Power Basics”. August 16, 2013. http://energy.gov/eere/energybasics/articles/concentrating-solar-power-basics

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Renewable Energy

Energy sources that are not depleted when used or are naturally replenished within a human lifetime.

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Solar PV

Solar Photovoltaic (PV) technology converts the sun’s energy into direct current electricity by using semiconductors.

Solar Thermal

Solar Thermal technologies capture the heat energy from the sun and use it for heating and/or the production of electricity