- What are Solar Panels
- Solar Panel Calculators
- Think You Can't Afford Solar Panels? Think Again
- Leasing Solar Panels - Is it Right For You?
- Making Solar Panels Pay - How to Calculate Cost Recovery
- How to Pick a Solar Panel Installation Company
- Selecting a Quality Solar Panel Manufacturer
- Solar Module Recycling
- Solar Cells 101: Photovoltaic (PV) Cells
- Thin Film vs Traditional Silicon Solar Cells
- Thin Film Solar Cells for Windows
Using Solar Energy
- Solar Paint Could be on the Market by 2016
- Portable Solar Chargers For Use at Home or on the Road
- Using Sunlight to Cook Your Food With a Solar Cooker
- Solar Thermal Electric Systems (Concentrating Solar)
- Solar Stills - Use the Sun to Purify your Water
- Solar Energy Tax Rebates
- The Promise of Space-Based Solar Power
Solar energy is a renewable, clean energy source that has been used by mankind for thousands of years. It was the first energy source used in ancient times, if only for simplistic daily sustenance needs such as direct heating or drying items. In recent years, solar energy has become one of the most promising alternative energy sources, not only as a lower cost alternative to fossil fuels, but as a much cleaner, greener form of energy.
The sun provides enough solar energy on the Earth in a single day to power the entire energy needs of the planet for a full year. Solar energy involves the process of harnessing the power of the sun to produce useful energy, and the challenge involved in modern times is to find ways to do this efficiently and cost-effectively.
There are several different technologies which have been developed to date to harness and produce solar energy. Simplistically, these technologies can be broken down into two types - direct solar power and indirect solar power. Direct solar power will transform sunlight directly into a form which can be used. An example of this is photovoltaic technology, where sunlight enters the photovoltaic cell, and is converted to electricity. With indirect or passive methods, the light from the sun will hit a surface which is designed to absorb it. The surface will become warmer, and the heat will be transported in the form of electricity. This is called a solar thermal collector.
Solar energy is defined as "clean energy" because it does not produce pollutants or byproducts harmful to the environment. Solar energy is considered a renewable energy source because it will exist for as long as our sun does, estimated to be another 4.5 billion years.