To get energy from sun and use it for personal reasons is being followed from ancient times, because it never put bad effect on human life. In ancient times very simple methods were adopted to use heat of sun in daily life, but with passage of time innovations took place. Solar panels are also part of those innovations that are now popularly used around the world to change heat energy of sun into electricity or any other form of energy. Technologies, that are widely used today for using solar energy includes solar heating, solar photovoltaic, solar thermal electricity and solar architecture. All these are counted as great contributions in solving energy problems.
Energy storage methods:
Solar energy is not available at night that is why it is important to develop some storage methods which can provide us with energy at night time as well. This energy is actually intermittent energy source, which means that we need to store it when it is available to us so that we can transmit it later on for our purposes. Summer is best time for solar panels to store it, because at that time sun gives more heat. Issue arise in winters when sun appears for just few hours, to solve these issues The Institute for Solar Energy Supply Technology of the University of Kassel pilot-tested a combined power plant linking solar, wind, biogas and hydrostorage to provide load-following power around the clock, entirely from renewable sources like solar power.
We can use molten salts to store high temperatures, these proved to be effective storage medium in all cases. Cost that incur for installing this setup is low but quality that they deliver is much better than conventional power plants. Another good way to store solar energy is to use grid-tied systems; it helps in sending excess electricity to grids.
How solar power is extracted?
Solar power is a serious source of energy from last many years, and its reason is easy and free availability of sunlight. Energy that sun produce gives us both, light and heat and is counted as one of the biggest source of renewable energy. To use this power different mediums are used such as
Hybrid solar energy: this energy includes combination of solar power, wind energy and heat pumps etc. that work together with engines and generators
PV panels: when people think about low cost and effective means of producing electricity with help of solar power, they think about PV panels. These panels are made of silicon semiconductors within solar cells that convert to electricity.
Thin-Film Photovoltaic: a level ahead to PV panels is Thin-Film Photovoltaic which are less expensive and light weight. These are formed with photovoltaic material which make it more thinner in size, and allow us to put them on windows, rooftop and tops of shingles etc.
Concentrated Solar Power (CSP): is hot topic today, as researchers are putting million of dollar in construction of these new solar energy storage methods. They will serve electricity needs of hundreds of homes with just one project.
Solar energy is serving different purposes with its active and passive solar techniques. Active techniques are helping us with increasing supply of energy while passive techniques are helping us in reducing alternate resources. One is directly linked with supply while other work on demand side.
Today we are using this energy in almost all fields of life including, Architecture and urban planning, Agriculture and horticulture, Solar lighting, Solar thermal, Water heating, Heating, cooling and ventilation, Cooking, Process heat and many other innovative and necessary processes of day to day life.