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How solar technologies will work for you.

Ashleigh AngellOctober 23, 20185200

How solar technologies will work for you.

Solar energy is still a fairly new innovation with new technologies appearing all the time. Things like solar shingles and solar driveways are just a couple examples of how solar continues to grow and expand. Because of how new solar still is, many people are still unsure what they can expect to get from solar. Many people don’t fully understand solar energy yet, and therefore, they don’t know what solar energy promises to bring to them. In this blog, we will look at the technological innovations of the solar industry, the various ways solar is used, and how these technologies can bring energy into your life in a clean and renewable way.

There are three primary technologies that provide solar.

There are three primary technologies that provide solar energy to consumers.

The first type of solar technology is photovoltaics (PV), which directly convert light to electricity. This is the most popular type of solar technology, and a majority of solar panels that people purchase use this kind of solar energy.

The second type is concentrating solar power (CSP), which draws heat from the sun (thermal energy) to drive utility-scale, electric turbines. These aren’t really used on residential homes, but are fairly popular for massive buildings.

Lastly, there are heating and cooling systems, which collect thermal energy to provide hot water and air cooling. These types of systems are mostly used for homes where hot water is the focus of their solar energy use.

Solar energy is also harnessed through multiple means. Everything from a rooftop panel to a ground-mounted panel to a massive dish for a large building, it can be generated and distributed in a variety of ways depending on your specific needs.

Looking deeper: photovoltaic technology.

Photovoltaic (PV) technologies directly convert sunlight into electricity, regardless of how many clouds are in the sky or how cold it is outside. When sunlight strikes the PV module, made of a semiconductor material, electrons are stripped from their atomic bonds, allowing them to flow through the electric current. PV modules contain no moving parts and are expected to last thirty years or more with virtually no maintenance. PV electricity output peaks around midday when the sun is at its highest point in the sky and can offset the most expensive electricity generated when demand is highest. Homeowners can install a few dozen PV panels to reduce or eliminate their monthly electricity bills, and utilities can build large communities of solar panels, which allows people who don’t have an easy way to install solar panels to get in on solar, as well.

Looking deeper: concentrating solar power.

Concentrating solar power (CSP) plants use mirrors to concentrate the sun’s thermal energy to drive a conventional steam turbine which makes electricity. The thermal energy concentrated in a CSP plant can be stored to produce electricity when it is needed, day or night. This type of solar energy is typically used by solar power plants, in order to provide clean energy to large buildings and projects, such as construction sites that need a lot of continuous energy to get a job done.

Looking deeper: solar heating and cooling.

Solar heating and cooling technologies collect thermal energy from the sun and use this heat to provide hot water and heating and cooling for residential, commercial and industrial customers. There are multiple different types of collectors: flat plate, evacuated tube, Integral Collector Storage (ICS), thermosiphon and concentrating. These systems typically provide a return on investment in 3-6 years.

Want to learn more about various solar technologies that can provide you with clean, renewable energy? Check out the HahaSmart blog!

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