Solar energy is radiant light and heat from the Sun that is harnessed using a range of technologies such as solar power to generate electricity, solar thermal energy (including solar water heating), and solar architecture.
It is an essential source of renewable energy, and its technologies are broadly characterized as either passive solar or active solar depending on how they capture and distribute solar energy or convert it into solar power.
Active solar techniques include the use of photovoltaic systems, concentrated solar power, and solar water heating to harness the energy. Passive solar techniques include orienting a building to the Sun, selecting materials with favorable thermal mass or light-dispersing properties, and designing spaces that naturally circulate air
Which solar technology is best?
Monocrystalline solar panels are often touted as the most efficient option and are therefore best when installed for larger energy systems in commercial and residential properties. However, panel sizes do vary; therefore, monocrystalline can be used in smaller installations as well.
You’re likely most familiar with PV, which is utilized in solar panels. When the sun shines onto a solar panel, energy from the sunlight is absorbed by the PV cells in the panel. This energy creates electrical charges that move in response to an internal electrical field in the cell, causing electricity to flow.
Solar energy technology doesn’t end with electricity generation by PV or CSP systems. These solar energy systems must be integrated into homes, businesses, and existing electrical grids with varying mixtures of traditional and other renewable energy sources.