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How is Solar Energy Used? Traditional and Modern Day Uses for Solar Power
We have tapped into Mother Nature for centuries to provide
energy for us or to do task for us with out effort such as
the sun drying out clothes or the wind generating a water
pump, or even using oxen to run a gin mill; all products of
producing natural energy. Solar
power is no different, except that it uses modern
technology to tap further into one of Mother Nature's
resources, the sun. How is solar energy used?
The energy the sun produces through solar generation
provides solar energy to many things. Solar power provides
energy to give heat, warm water, treat water, power dryers,
cool a home, drive a car, and many more things. Mother Nature
truly has provided us with a powerful resource in solar power.
- Passive Solar Architecture: The Greeks and the Chinese
were the first to tap into using the sun positioning when determining
how and where they would build a house or building, always building
southern facing to utilize the suns resources for lighting and warmth.
This is referred to as passive solar architecture. Other considerations
taken into passive solar architecture are structure height, selective
shading for cooling, and the natural heat source, the sun. Modern
passive solar architecture utilizes computers to do the layout that
best utilizes Mother Natures finest as well as incorporating solar
lighting, heating, ventilation, solar powered pumps and fans, and
solar roof tiles to help capture
the power of the sun.
- Green House Effect and Agricultural benefits: In green
houses the glass panels work as a natural generator for warmth,
optimizing plant growth and allowing year-round growth - a huge
benefit to the horticulture field. In the agriculture field,
solar energy is used for pumping water for crops, drying crops,
brooding chickens, drying manure and powering grape presses.
- Solar lighting: Solar lighting is actively used in many
applications from households, solar powered garden lights, streetlights,
lighted signs and billboards to name a few instances.
- Solar Water Heating:
Solar powered water heaters are actively used in both residential homes
and business. Pools also utilize the sun for heating purposes through
solar pool covers that heat the pool water.
- Solar Heating, Cooling, and Ventilation: Commonly used in
residential homes, solar home heating
is used to help offset the cost of traditional energy bills.
- Water treatment: Solar has been being actively used in
water treatment plants to disinfect water, water stabilization,
and to treat wastewater without the use of chemicals or electricity.
- Cooking: Cooking has been done by solar energy from
dehydration to running a electric stove. Dehydrating food has
been done for centuries, simply by laying out strips of food
and letting the sun naturally dry them.
- Solar Processed Heat: Provides process heat for commercial
and industrial applications.
- Solar Electrical Generation: Probably the most well known
of the solar energy providing spectrum which can power anything from
a small desk calculator to powering a whole household with the use of
- Solar Powered Vehicles: Since the 1980s, solar power has
been creeping into the automobile industry. The solar cars that are
on the market today use solar power when in an idle state or for
auxiliary items such as the radio or air-conditioning. There are
also forms of solar boats and solar power utilized in planes, RVs,
and even spacecraft.
Solar power is not as new as people often think, and is sure to
continue to grow in popularity.