The sun is the brightest star in our solar system and the power it emits is much more than just used for light. It is so powerful that it is responsible for creating and sustaining life on earth. Though people have attempted to harness the power of the sun since the beginning of time, we are just now starting to understand how much power we can harness from the sun. Individuals and major companies like Johnson & Johnson and Kohl’s are using the sun as their main energy source in order to reduce personal costs and be more friendly to our world. Below are some ways our society has started to scratch the surface and harness power from the sun.
1.) Powerful Heating and Cooling Source
People harness the sun’s power for heating and cooling most often in places like office buildings and other large buildings. This is because it is an efficient way to heat a large space and more cost-efficient than traditional heating and cooling methods. At one point in time, getting solar energy panels like Colorado Springs solar panels put in and harnessing solar energy on a large commercial scale was extremely difficult and expensive. People have recently begun to understand how to better utilize solar technology making it one of the cleanest, affordable, and environmentally friendly energy sources available.
2.) PV Systems
PV systems, whose proper name is photovoltaic systems, are a type of panel that is made from a material that creates an electric current when it is exposed to sunlight. It absorbs the heat and light from the sun and, in turn, begins to shake electrons until they are loose which is what creates the photovoltaic effect which creates a current. The panels are installed either at an angle or on a tracking system which allows them to swivel so they can absorb as much sunlight as possible. The panels are only a few millimeters thick and can be installed on nearly any surface you can think of from shingles and tiles to any other building facade that the sun can reach. It is a great source of renewable energy for years.
3.) It Can Be Used to Heat Up Water
There are rectangular chambers that people have begun to use that have several tubes running inside them known as flat-plate collectors. As the name may suggest, these collectors collect water and circulate it throughout. The pipes inside the solar collectors are completely transparent which will allow for sunlight to stream in. When it comes into the pipes, they trap the heat from the sun inside which keeps the water inside warm. The system then circulates the water into a tank where it is stored to heat the rest of the water when you turn it on. These simple heating systems allows for a clean water source completely from the sun so it is a renewable energy source for many years.
4.) Thermal Electricity
Power from the sun can be harnessed and used to heat water and produce sustainable clean electricity. In order to do this, you have to use the right types of systems, and there are three to pick from. You can use a parabolic trough system which utilizes U-shaped mirrors in a line to make a sort of trough. The mirrors then use the sunlight to get a particular pipe extremely hot allowing it to circulate oil properly which then allows for the system to produce steam.
There is the dish/engine system which uses mirrors which are put onto a satellite dish. The mirrors focus the heat from the sun directly onto a receiver. A fluid then absorbs the heat coming off of the mirrors and starts a piston up which is used to get water to boil.
Finally, the last system that is used is the power tower. The power tower is a field full of mirrors that are used to absorb and reflect back a huge amount of sunlight from field to tower. This creates an extreme amount of heat which is then used to heat up molten salt. Once heated, the molten salt is piped into a boiler and used for various purposes.
We are just beginning to scrape the surface of all the ways we can use the sun to take care of the earth and make our lives easier at the same time.