As an important part of new energy, solar energy has unique advantages and is considered to be one of the most potential power technologies in the 21st century.
With the deterioration of the global environment and the consumption of fossil fuels, the attention of countries around the world has turned to the energy transition. New energy is considered to be an important direction.
Part of the reason for the switch to solar is altruistic and driven by growing concerns about the threat of climate change.
A preliminary study in Europe and the United States concluded that switching from fossil fuels to solar energy could lead to up to 90 percent of air pollution.
With so many technologies and devices that can be powered by solar energy, many people wonder "What are the applications of solar energy?"
Whether it's charging a cell phone or providing emergency power for an entire home, solar energy is being used in a myriad of applications, leaving many wondering how to use it and how far they can go by switching to solar power.
Let's take a look at some of the uses of solar energy you should know about.
What are the main applications of solar energy?
Notably, solar energy needs to capture the sun's energy to create
1. Concentrated Solar Energy (CSP)
2. Photovoltaic (PV) power supply.
Photovoltaic power generation is the most common application of solar energy. Broadly speaking, this means that solar energy can be used for solar heating and electricity generation, respectively.
By converting sunlight into energy or heat, solar energy can be used to power heaters, swimming pools, lights, cars and gadgets. There is no doubt that the solar power equipment and appliances available today are more sophisticated than ever.
# Application 1 - Solar Roof
With countless state-of-the-art electronics and gadgets available today, it's not hard to see why the most common example of solar power is rooftop solar. Generating electricity from rooftop solar panels is an application that has gained a lot of momentum over the past few decades.
Rooftop solar is gaining popularity as more people realize the environmental, social and economic benefits of solar, especially in states such as Australia, California, Nevada, Florida and Texas with year-round sunshine country and state. The adoption of rooftop solar is also rapidly increasing due to the plummeting cost of solar panels, making solar power more common, cheaper and more accessible than ever in most countries.
For example, U.S. rooftop solar capacity is estimated to be around 97.2GW, a 28,500% increase from 0.34GW in 2008. According to the U.S. Office of Solar Energy Technologies, the nation's share of rooftop solar generation has tripled over the past four years to more than 40 percent.
Rooftop solar can save homeowners thousands of dollars each year on their electricity bills, not to mention the fact that it can help them reduce their carbon footprint and prevent electricity bills from going up. When you're considering solar photovoltaic panels on your roof, it's important to consider the sunlight in your home, the type of roof, the condition of the roof, the aesthetics of the home, the orientation of the roof, and the energy needs of your home.
# Application 2 - Solar Heating
Another core application of solar energy is the generation of concentrated thermal energy. Given the abundance of free solar energy, many businesses, such as hotels and property owners, are beginning to adopt solar water heaters and solar water heaters as a heating alternative.
How do they work? As the name suggests, solar water heaters use water as a medium to transfer heat, while solar water heaters use air or liquid as a way to harness sunlight and convert it into heat. These solar thermal solutions can be active or passive, as active solar heating systems use pumps to help circulate hot water, while passive solar heating systems use natural convection to circulate the heating medium.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, solar water heaters are expected to pay for themselves within 5 to 10 years of installation. For those using solar heating arrays, passive systems cost less than full solar panel systems and they may expect a 5-10% return.
Another major benefit of solar power via solar thermal technology is the ability to heat central plumbing, swimming pools, Jacuzzis, and other household resources at a fraction of the cost of traditional alternative energy sources (e.g. gasoline pumps, oil pumps, electric pumps, etc.).
In much of the United States, solar heating is considered the most economical way to heat swimming pools, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. These solar thermal systems can cost anywhere from $3,000 to $4,000 and can give you a good return on investment in 1.5 years.
# Application 3 - Solar Lighting
One of the most direct and effective ways to enhance sunlight is to use it for outdoor solar lighting, which is a great way to enhance the appearance, safety and resale value of your property. Unlike standard outdoor lights, solar lighting is easy to install, is mostly wireless, and collects sunlight to reduce nighttime reliance on utility power.
While solar lights are not yet as popular as solar panels, they are increasingly being used with products like smart home thermostats and LED light bulbs to improve energy efficiency and reduce energy costs. They're also cheap, with most models going for about $20.
The popularity, affordability and availability of solar energy are the main reasons for the increasing use of solar energy in street lights.
# Application 4 - Driving Vehicles (Solar Vehicles)
An innovative example of solar energy is photovoltaic-powered vehicles and automobiles. Cars, planes, buses, subways, trams, railroads and even roads can use solar energy, and solar-powered transportation is increasingly becoming a popular alternative to traditional modes of transportation.
A few years ago, we saw the first solar-powered aircraft fly around the world, a major milestone in the use of solar energy in the transportation industry. Even more exciting, China is using solar companies to boost public transportation in megacities like Beijing, while reducing their dire carbon footprints.
Meanwhile, solar-powered cars have recently appeared in car races around the world. A prime example is the Solo Spirit model that debuted at the Australian Motorsport Championship. We're just getting started when it comes to solar powered cars and vehicles.
# Application 5 -- Wearable Technology
If solar power has a personal application, it's wearable solar technology. Using solar energy to power consumer electronics is nothing new. Portable solar chargers can power or charge a wide variety of electronics, from cameras and smartphones to e-readers and tablets.
As the tech world embraces solar power, we'll see a plethora of self-charging and eco-friendly solar-powered wearables, including smartwatches, smartphones, pedometers, fitness trackers, portable solar chargers, portable power stations, and more.
# Application 6 - Solar Ventilation
Solar ventilation systems have come a long way. Today, advanced solar ventilation systems, such as solar attic fans, play an increasingly important role in reducing the burden on gas air conditioners as they help cool buildings and homes on hot summer days. This makes solar ventilation a smart way to harness solar energy, especially for households that don't have solar panels installed to offset the cost of central cooling and heating in their home.
Industrial and commercial applications of solar energy include thermal heating technology, which heats air before it enters buildings and industrial environments, helping to reduce heating costs.
What does the future of solar energy look like?
Solar power has undoubtedly achieved some huge milestones over the past decade. A decade ago, the global solar industry was relatively small, relying heavily on government incentives and subsidies in solar-centric countries and states such as Italy, Germany and California. Today, with the falling cost of solar panels and innovations in solar technology, we are seeing a massive solar capacity of around 120 gigawatts, especially in sunny states like California, where solar has become one of the cheapest sources of energy.
Going forward, it is clear that solar energy will become cheaper, more reliable and more accessible. Solar energy could become the most important source of electricity for much of the world by 2030, when the cost of solar energy will more than halve, according to industry experts. This will have spin-off benefits for our planet and may also help us curb climate change.
Future innovations will focus on advanced applications of solar energy, especially how to better integrate solar technology into your power system, business and home. This means greater use of low-cost solar electronics and more advanced power electronics.
All in all, harnessing solar energy will reduce costs, making it an unrivaled renewable energy source compared to oil, natural gas and other fossil fuels. In other words, the future of solar energy is bright and a big win for everyone.
There is no doubt that solar energy will continue to play a key role in the world. Today, it is almost ubiquitous, and the main applications of solar energy include solar power generation, solar lighting, solar heating, solar transportation, solar ventilation. You can see solar panels on the roof, solar street lights along the road and solar fans for cooling. Of course, with more and more breakthroughs in solar technology, more solar applications will emerge, and what we have listed above is just the tip of the iceberg. The use of solar energy also reduces our carbon footprint and makes our living environment better and better.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What are the main applications of solar energy?
Solar roofs, solar heating, solar lighting, wearable device power supply, solar ventilation are the main applications of solar energy.
2. What are the advantages of solar energy?
Solar energy is green, pollution-free and completely free, and it can work in remote areas that are not connected to the main grid.
3. Why is solar energy popular?
Solar power has no geographical restrictions. Whether you are in the mountains or plains, you can easily use it. Plus, it's a completely free resource, just install solar panels and harness the power of the sun to reduce your electricity bills.