What is Solar Energy ?
We often stumble upon questions such as “What is Solar Energy?”, “What are Solar Energy’s Application?”, “What are Solar Energy’s uses?” But we always get vague answers. So “What is Solar Energy” really?Solar energy is energy from the sun. That much needs no explanation of course.What we can do with solar is however more interesting and diverse than most think.When the term solar energy comes up, most of us visualize either solar panels on rooftops or solar water heaters.Of course, the above two are some of the most prominent end uses of solar energy, but there is more.
To enable easy understanding, just as sunlight can be considered in two forms – heat and light – solar energy can also be divided into two main components – Solar Light Energy and Solar Heat Energy.
- Solar Light Energy– In this, the main objective is to convert to electricity the energy contained in sunlight in the form of photons. This sector is known as Solar Photovoltaic or Solar PV in
- Solar Heat Energy– In this, the objective is to use the sunlight’s heat energy as thermal energy or to generate electricity. This sector is known as Solar Thermal.
Let Us Look at Solar Energy Applications in More Detail
The following chart provides the complete list of solar energy applications
OFF – GRID SOLAR SYSTEM
Systems that are not connected to the gird and function independently are referred to as Off grid solar system. They can be in the form of rooftops solar system and other solar related products such as solar street light, solar lanterns, solar water heater etc.
DISTRIBUTED GRID CONNECTED
Solar power plants, owing to their modularity, are ideal for generation from distributed locations – on rooftops of residences or industries, on car parks and more. Such distributed solar power units can also be connected to the grid so that the system gets the twin benefits of a sustainable energy source and the reliability of grid power.
HYBRID GRID CONNECTED SYSTEM
These refer typically to distributed solar power systems that, in addition to being grid-connected, also are connected to another source of power such as a battery or diesel power generator among a few. The advantages of such a system are that they provide uninterrupted power supply and can be programmable according to the available source of energy and the needs of the consumer.