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How Is Solar Energy Used

Can we give only a simple answer to someone asking how is solar energy used?

Of course, Yes!

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For instance look at the solar powered devices that are gaining more and more popularity among users all over the world, due to their multiple applications and benefits. These tools are useful not only for running household equipments but also for powering car batteries and heating up large commercial buildings.

Is it right to say sun powered equipments are suitable only for heating up the air in small to average rooms or only for running air conditioning devices during summer days? Is it correct to affirm that solar energy can only be generated through large panels mounted on roofs?

As you can assume, the answer is 'no' to all those previously asked questions, because this renewable form of energy is actually covering a wide range of applications and domains. So we'll take each of these fields and see how is solar energy used in residential, commercial, industrial and remote applications!

How is solar energy used in residential applications?

The first use when it comes to household applications of solar powered devices is for producing electricity. For this purpose, photovoltaic panels are usually mounted on the roofs or above the ground, in backyards, as they need to be exposed to sunlight permanently for proper results.

Some of these equipments are also connected to the national grid, but most of them are independent, turning the house into an energy efficient one. With a single panel installed on the roof or against an outdoor wall, a residence can receive enough energy for all the electrical appliances.

Refrigerators, air conditioning systems, washing machines, lamps and regular lights, TVs, laptops and many other devices can be powered with the electricity produced by photovoltaic cells.

But we said in the beginning of this article that sun rays are also suitable for heating the air or the water. So how is solar energy used for warming the domestic water, you may ask? Well the principle is the same: some photovoltaic panels or solar tubes are placed usually on the residence's roof and they collect sunlight.

This sunlight can either be converted into electricity which is then used for powering a water heater, or it can be used for warming the water passively, through those tubes. In both cases the results are good but the first type of device is able to heat the water even during the night, thanks to the energy stored in the battery that is included in the solar system.

Another application of solar energy in residential use is warming the water inside swimming pools and cleaning it. Most solar powered pool heaters have built-in filters and recirculating pumps that take care of all the aspects involved by a residential swimming basin.

But how is solar energy used in vacation homes? These are also residences, aren't they? And when no electricity grid is available near the holiday houses, solar energy is a pretty smart idea!

Not only you'll have power for all the appliances inside the house, but you'll also be able to run decorative outdoor lights, to heat the water in spa pools and to keep the safety alarms on the entire night with absolutely no electricity costs on the bills!

How is solar energy used in commercial buildings?

Commercial buildings are often very large and lots of electricity is required for powering all the devices and equipments inside these locations. Whether we talk about office buildings or commercial spaces like stores or restaurants, energy is needed for keeping the location illuminated, for running air conditioning systems or air heaters, for powering laptops or large TVs mounted on walls.

So a smart way of using solar rays for powering these large commercial buildings consists of purchasing and installing solar roofing materials. These are pretty expensive in the beginning, but the investment can be easily recouped within few years as the electricity bills are drastically reduced.

Another way of taking advantage of sunlight in commercial buildings refers to solar curtains mounted on each window. During summer time, these curtains will keep the air cool, eliminating the need of a regular air conditioning system. But in wintertime, the same curtains can warm the indoor air, keeping the optimum temperature.

How is solar energy used in industrial spaces?

Can sunlight really be used for industrial applications also? Sure it can! A simple example refers to solar furnaces! These equipments are powerful enough to melt metals and boil water, so they are surely useful in certain industrial fields!

Lighthouses can also benefit from solar energy as they are often situated in hardly accessible areas and isolated, so no grids are usually available near these buildings. How is solar energy used in navigation and aircraft industry?

Well there are lots of radars powered by sunlight, and also aircraft warning lights working on solar rays, so this renewable form of energy is surely suitable for these domains also! Transportation signaling and traffic lights can also rely on sunlight in order to work during daytime as well as during nighttime.

Devices powered by sunrays have the advantage of reduce utility payments and increased reliability compared to regular systems, so in industrial fields they can be a great way of saving money without having to reduce the production.

How is solar energy used in remote applications?

If we think about schools or hospitals, community halls or clinics, we can assume there's a high demand of energy and electricity in these applications, so photovoltaic panels could be a great way of generating electrical power and at the same time, keeping the costs for electricity low.

Also, in less developed country with no access to regular grids, solar powered systems could be the only chance for people to get clean and hot water or to run various equipments. As already mentioned, there are water pumps, filters and heaters which are run by sun and could be used in this kind of remote applications.

Now that you have some knowledge on how is solar energy used, you could give yourself the time to study this problem a little more and see whether sunlight powered devices are a good alternative for your house or commercial building!

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