The Benefits Of Solar Energy

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Solar energy is a natural renewable resource that has a huge potential because it can easily supply energy for the whole Earth and will never run out. The sun produces a huge amount of energy in light and heat form. It can be used by humans in several ways, for example in solar heating, photovoltaics, solar thermal energy, molten salt power plants and concentrator solar power technologies. Solar energy can either be used directly or indirectly by first turning it into electricity.
The amount of solar energy that is absorbed by the atmosphere is huge, about 3,850,000 exajoules (1 exajoule = 1018 joules) per year. The amount of solar energy that reaches the Earth’s crust differs very much. It is affected by place, time, weather, etc. During night time not much sunlight reaches Earth and cloud cover also blocks most sunlight.
Capturing Sunlight
There are two types of ways to capture sunlight. The first one is active, in which sunlight is converted into a useful form of energy that can be distributed easily. The most popular way of conversion is using solar panels, though many other ways exist such as solar thermal collectors, concentrated solar power, fans and pumps. There are two types of solar panels: photovoltaic and solar thermal. Both absorb raw energy from the sun but solar thermal directly heats water or air, while photovoltaics convert the energy into electricity. CSP or Concentrated solar power uses lenses or mirrors to direct the sunlight into a small beam.
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