Types of Solar Power and Solar Energy


After the 1973 oil embargo and everything that went on with it, there was a sudden resurgence of an interest in the idea of using sun power. When faced with the possibility of scarce to no oil resources, the United States government decided to allocate $400 million per year, from the previous mere $1 million per year, for dedication to solar energy research. Solar power is radiant heat and light from the sun. It has been captured by humans since ancient times using a variety of different ever-changing technologies. There are different ways to look at the different types of solar energy.

One of those ways is by separating into the categories of active and passive solar power. Passive solar energy refers to the harnessing of the sun’s energy without using man’s mechanical devices. South-facing windows which provide natural lighting and heat for your home are examples of this passive solar energy. Active solar power is just the opposite. Active solar energy uses man-made mechanical devices in the interests of collection, storage, and distribution of sun energy for your home. For example, in active solar energy water heating systems, pumps are now used to circulate water throughout the entire system. However, there are other ways to look at types of sun power and types of sun power sources as well. Biomass and wind power are two indirect sources of solar power. Things such as dry crop wastes and wood are referred to as biomass derived fuels. Plants use photosynthesis, deriving the energy from the sun.

Up until around one century ago, firewood was the most common form of fuel used by anyone anywhere. Although other forms of energy are currently available, biomass is still the largest form of energy available in the US. Wind power is the cheapest form of solar electricity today. Variations of pressures anywhere between areas caused by sun power, cause different types of wind effects. Turbines are run by this type of electricity that, in turn, generate electricity.

In the Rocky Mountains in Southern Wyoming, the average annual wind speed is 21 miles per hour, making it very ideally perfect for this type of electricity generation. There are yet still other forms of solar energy as well. Some of which are solar thermal energy, photovoltaic solar power, and concentrating solar power (CSP).

Solar thermal energy is created when sun energy is converted into heat. Homeowners apply this type of energy in the use of solar space heating, solar water heating, solar pool heating, and solar thermal cooling. Photovoltaic solar power is created when solar energy is converted into electricity through the use of solar cells. Concentrating solar power is mainly a large-scale energy production. It is a type of solar thermal energy which generates solar power electricity.



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