So, you’re thinking about going solar and wondering if a 10kW system is right for your home. Well, you’ve come […]
Solar energy is a highly beneficial and practical source that is typically used in taking advantage of its two main forms: heat and light. We use solar energy to charge vehicles, to generate power with photovoltaic (PV) cells and to heat water.
This article discusses the seven most common applications of where and how we can use solar energy in our lives.
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1. Generation of Solar Power (Electricity)
The reduction in the prices of solar panels and their improved durability has driven more people to select them as alternatives for powering their homes and industries.
Solar energy generates electricity through photovoltaic cells – which convert direct sunlight to electricity. The energy generated by the solar power system can be used to offset or even to completely replace the user’s monthly bills.
Excess power can be sent to the grid for other consumers within the locality to consume. With solar energy, you have a choice between on-grid and off-grid systems. Off-grid systems depend solely on solar energy, with no connections or power use from utility companies.
The system is connected to solar batteries to guarantee backup power operation during the night, cloudy days and emergencies.
On-grid systems on the other hand are connected to a solar energy system and to a utility company source, to fluctuate between the two depending on the conditions and need.
Excess energy produced by your solar energy can be stored in battery banks, but can also be fed back into the grid, where the power provider distributes it to other customers, which has a great effect on offsetting your electric bills.
And in case your solar system fails to generate power, the electric utility company can meet your electricity needs.
2. Water Heating
Solar energy is commonly used to heat water in our homes, industries, hotels and even hospitals.
Homeowners use rooftop photovoltaic cells (PV) to absorb heat from the sun and heat the water in an insulated water tank, which stores the hot water for a considerable time for use in our homes.
Solar systems can also heat swimming pools by circulating water through a solar collector and warmed by the sunlight, before using it again in swimming pools.
3. Drying of Agricultural and Animal Products
Solar energy can also be used to dry agricultural and animal products such as fruits, milk, fish, potato chips, and maize grains.
Products are placed in a cabinet dryer comprising a box with a foundation insulated at the bottom, an interior side painted black and covered with an inclined transparent sheet.
Ventilation holes are punctured at the bottom and top to allow air to circulate over the drying material, located on perforated trays inside the cabinet.
4. Solar Heating
You can use solar energy for space heating of homes and businesses. Devices like Flat plate collectors convert solar radiation into heat (thermal energy).
Also read; What is the cost of installing solar panel
The Flat plate collectors consist of a blackened metal plate with a top transparent sheet of glass cover and a thermal insulation layer underneath it that is heated by the sunlight.
The metal collector absorbs heat from the sun and transfers it to the water or air as a carrier fluid that flows through the plate to the insulated water tank that stores hot or warm water.
This heating water system can also supply your home with hot or warm water flowing through the ceilings or floors tubes.
When the building needs heat, the hot water or air can be transferred by conventional equipment like fans, air outlets, and ducts from these collectors or devices to the building interior spaces.
5. Solar Energy Lighting
Solar energy is a suitable solution for security lights, street lights, indoor lights, and road signs as they are affordable, environmentally friendly and readily available.
You can use solar energy to light your home or business as it is a great option to save on electricity, energy and costs and do not dissipate or lose power as do other energy systems.
6. Solar Pumping Water For Irrigation
The solar energy generated by a solar panel system can be used to pump water to use for irrigation during the summer.
During hot seasons, crops lose more water through the transpiration process, but at the same time, solar panels generate more solar energy because they get a high exposure to sunlight. This makes solar energy solutions great to use for irrigation purposes because it is readily available and cheap.
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7. Solar Energy Water Distillation
Solar energy can greatly help distill water, especially in arid, semi-arid, or coastal areas with saline water and plenty of sunlight. Sunlight in these areas can be used to convert saline water into pure water for consumption.
Solar heat is transferred through transparent glass to a shallow blackened basin containing saline water. The heat radiation gets absorbed and is converted into heat in the blackened bay.
The heat evaporates from saline, as pure water from the saline, in the form of vapour, condenses into pure water, and is collected in basins and shifted to water tank storage.
Solar energy has numerous benefits to your health, finances, environment and well-being. You can use solar energy for lighting, distilling water, drying crops, and animal products. You can also use it to power air ventilators in your house and irrigate crops during summer.
Apart from being durable and cheap, solar energy systems can also add value to your property, offering more value than any other type of energy system.