Introduction to Solar Energy
Solar Energy, in short, is energy from the Sun. The Sun produces heat and radiant light which humans have learnt to harness for heating, cooking and electricity production. Many forms of solar technologies exist today; from solar geysers, cookers and heaters, to parabolic troughs and solar electric panels.
Solar technologies are categorized into two main parts; Active Solar and Passive Solar. Active solar technology includes things like photovoltaics, parabolics, or solar collectors used for water heating and/or cooking. Basically, anything that uses man-made electronic or mechanical equipment is active solar. Passive solar includes sun rooms, skylights and similar architectural concepts which utilize the sun for heating and lighting. Both active and passive solar technologies are used today.
In 2002, scientists recorded the amount of solar radiation reaching the Earth's surface. Given the yearly average, in just one hour the Sun produced enough energy to power the whole planet for that year. The increase in energy consumption since 2002 means we would more likely need around one and a half times that now. The statistics are endless; point being that the Sun creates more free energy than we need and yet we're wasting it all.
Most of us just live every day, never realizing quite how big a part solar energy plays in our lives. More of us need to be enlightened as to how much we need our Sun and how much more we could use its immense power.