In case you missed it, energy experts have started implementing solar power technologies in buildings and streets of various countries. It has been growing more popular and is said to be the energy of the future. In fact, solar PV or solar photovoltaics had grown an annual average of 42% from 2000 to 2010. What’s more interesting is that solar PV costs fluctuated by 44% between 2010 and 2012. Currently, China is considered a world market leader of the energy industry, having 8.3 GW of installed solar PV and 400 PV companies.
Meanwhile, Europe is the leading continent of installed solar energy. Germany installed one-third of the world’s solar panels in 2012, which is 32.3 gigawatts (GW). Italy also managed to induct approximately 17 GW during that time. Solar power is green power. It is renewable, clean, and the largest energy source in the world at present.
Types and Subtypes of Solar Applications
Active Solar Technology
In converting solar energy into another form of energy, active solar technology is utilized. For example, if the heat energy from the sun needs to be transformed into electricity, this type of solar application must be used. There are three known subtypes of active solar technology:
Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Energy
Through the use of solar PV panels, like the ones supported by integrated solar street lights, the light of the sun gets converted into energy. This is probably the most common application of solar technology. As you can see, rooftops and varying types of buildings use smaller-scale PV systems. Solar parks and photovoltaic power stations are affiliated with larger-scale solar PV systems.
PV power stations store the central solar technology employed for the production of electricity. The efficiency of the overall system of solar PV panels is hugely influenced by the materials used to make them. Thin-film has 12% efficiency; polycrystalline has 15%, and monocrystalline has 18 to 20%.
Concentrating Solar Power (CSP)
The heat from the sun is used to drive steam engines and turbines that generate electricity. The sun’s light is concentrated through the lenses and mirrors of the concentrating solar power technology. CSP plants can be mostly seen in energy-supplying structures and utilities as they are more cost-effective when used on a larger-scale application.
Solar Heating or Cooling (SHC)
Solar heating and cooling system produces energy from the heat of the sun to supply hot water, conduct heating and cooling, as well as pool heating. Solar heating collectors create heat, while solar PV systems provide electricity.
2 : Passive Solar Technology
Passive solar technology collects the heat of the sun for a building’s advantage without turning it to another form of energy nor using any mechanical devices. The method being implemented is coined as “daylighting”. Daylighting enables the elements that compose a building (e.g. windows, doors, walls, floors, etc) to gather the heat energy of the sun during winter and dodge it during summer.
Advantages of Solar Power in Buildings
As long as the sun is sure to shine the next morning, the resource of solar energy is unlimited. Thus, solar power is renewable based on the infinite quantity of sunlight produced by the sun.
As explained earlier in the active solar technology application, solar energy can be converted into different forms of energy by using mechanical and electrical devices. It can serve a considerable number of applications and functions.
3: Energy Independence
The supply of solar energy is not dependent on consumable and non-renewable natural resources such as coal reserves and fossil fuels. One more thing, if a building uses solar power, it is not affected by any electricity cuts or power outages. Photovoltaic arrays help buildings generate their own electricity.
Solar panels produce zero emissions of greenhouse gases or any harmful elements that can harm the environment. Thus, it creates a low impact on the pollution of the environment.
As the engineers say, solar power technology is a good investment. It serves any building well enough that the costs are going to be worth it. In addition to that, larger-scale projects can install at lower capital costs.
Solar PV systems are modular. The parts can both be separated and integrated. So, should your building need more of them, you can effortlessly expand the systems by adding more PV panels. It’s designed to be versatile and adaptive.
Solar power technologies can be transported conveniently from one building to another. They do not even have external wires and cables. They are compact, sturdy, and multi-purpose.
Overall, solar-powered buildings enhance the efficiency of the heating and cooling system by 30 percent when an HVAC system is properly installed. Operating costs for a solar water heater can be decreased by 90 percent. Space cooling is promoted and energy use is reduced by 20 to 30 percent when energy-efficient appliances, devices, and lights are used.