Energy Options Solar Energy

Renewable energy is energy obtained from sources at a rate that is less than or equal to the rate at which the source is replenished. In the case of solar energy, we can only use the energy that is provided by the Sun. Since the remaining lifetime of the Sun is measured in millions of years, many people consider solar energy an inexhaustible supply of energy. In fact, solar energy from the Sun is finite, but should be available for use by many generations of people. Solar energy is therefore considered renewable. Energy sources that are associated with solar energy, such as wind and biomass, are also considered renewable.

Solar radiation may be converted to other forms of energy by several conversion processes. Thermal conversion relies on the absorption of solar energy to heat a cool surface. Biological conversion of solar energy relies on photo synthesis. Photovoltaic conversion generates electrical power by the generation of an electrical current. Wind power and ocean energy conversion rely on atmospheric pressure gradients and oceanic temperature gradients to generate electrical power.

Solar energy is available in three forms: passive, active, and electric. Passive and active solar energy are generally used for space conditioning, such as heating and cooling, while solar electric energy is used to generate electrical power. Each of these forms is discussed below.

Solar Power

Solar Power

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