Solar Power is energy from the sun that is converted into thermal or electrical energy. This energy is the cleanest and most abundant renewable energy source available. The U.S. has some of the richest solar resources in the world. Solar technologies can harness this energy for a variety of uses; including generating electricity, providing light or a comfortable interior environment, and heating water for domestic, commercial, or industrial use.
Animated correspondent, ‘Little Lee Patrick Sullivan,’ talks about solar power on energynownews “Energy 101” series with an inside look at solar technology. He breaks down the different types of solar devices and how they work. He also details the pros and cons of this renewable source.
There are three main ways to harness solar energy: photovoltaics, solar heating & cooling, and concentrating solar power. Photovoltaics generate electricity directly from sunlight via an electronic process. Anything powered from small electronics such as calculators to homes and large commercial businesses can be used with Photovoltaics. SHC & CSP applications both use the heat generated by the sun to provide space or water heating in the case of SHC systems. SHC & CSP are also used to run traditional electricity-generating turbines in the case of CSP power plants.
Uses of Solar Power
Solar energy is a very flexible technology. Built as a distributed generation; which is located at or near the point of use. The central station also uses this technology; or utility-scale sun-powered power plant. (similar to traditional power plants). Both of these methods can also store the energy they produce for distribution after the sun sets; using cutting edge sun + storage technologies. Solar exists within a complex and interrelated electricity system in the U.S., working alongside other technologies like wind power to transition the U.S. to a clean energy economy.
All of these applications depend on supportive policy frameworks at the local, state and federal level to ensure consumers and businesses have fair access to clean energy technologies.