From time immemorial, the Sun has been a fascinating celestial object. It not only gives light but also has been a source of energy. Perhaps, for the benefits derived from it, it is being worshipped in many religions. Astronomically, it is our nearest star and without that star there is no life on the Earth. The most of common use of sunlight is its drying capacity. Washed laundry hung outside the house, gets dried up very easily. Another example for its use is fossil fuel which is the result of decayed plant by the sunlight million and million of years ago.
How does solar power works?
Solar power is nothing but the sunlight that shines on the Earth’s surface. It has been estimated that one hour of solar power on the earth can meet the energy demand of the world for one year. The solar power can be used in two different ways. One way it can be used as a heat source and another way it can be used as an energy source.
How does solar power work is very interesting. The common examples for solar power working are drying a damp cloth in the sun and heating a bucket of water under the sunlight. In both the examples, the heat in the sunlight is being absorbed by the water particles in the process. In the former example the water in the damp cloth gets evaporated and the cloth becomes dry. In the latter example, the heat is absorbed by the water particles resulting in the increase in temperature of the water.
The heating nature of the sun light is well utilized in the making of solar ovens, which are used for cooking. They replace the conventional cooking fuels such as wood, coal etc. They are very cheap also because sun light is abundant on the earth. How does solar power works has presented to the mankind with a useful and important device, the solar oven.
How does solar energy works?
As already seen solar energy is the utilization of solar power in energy source. To understand how solar energy works, first we should know how solar energy is produced. Solar energy is produced out of solar radiation, the Sunlight. The sunlight on reaching the upper portion of the earth’s atmosphere passes through many layers inside that. When finally it reaches the earth’s surface, it is in the form visible and infrared radiation. It is here that the radiation is used as chemical energy by the plants in the form of photosynthesis. Human beings use that in the form of heat energy.
Another advantage in solar energy is its convertibility into other forms of energy like electrical energy or light energy. The process of making electricity out of solar energy is called photovoltaic. Your solar-powered watch or calculator uses this method for working. Solar cells are being used for this. Apart from the calculators and LCDs, they are being used in satellites and spacecrafts.
The electrical energy out of the sun light is derived from the electromagnetic radiation of the sunlight. The conversion of solar energy in to electrical energy is achieved by many ways using solar thermal electric power plants, Power towers, parabolic troughs etc. In all these methods, the underlying principle is converting solar energy into electrical energy.
Lighting is another answer for the question how solar energy works. During day time the sun produces enough light for visibility. It is a passive method of using solar energy. To have the natural benefits of sunlight, buildings are constructed with more avenues for getting sunlight. Apart from that, natural light is used for illumination purpose.
Hybrid solar lighting is one method of using natural light for illumination purpose. By focusing mirrors, sunlight is collected and diverted through optical fibers into the interior of the buildings for supplementing the conventional lighting systems.
After understanding how solar power works and how solar energy works, it is very paining to know that the source of the sunlight is affected by the pollution in the atmosphere. Known as global dimming, it is the measure of irradiance on the earth’s surface over a period of time. It is observed that our atmosphere is very much polluted with carbon particles because of human action.
Increase in the average temperature on the earth’s surface and global climate changes are the results of this atmospheric pollution. The trend should be arrested to save our planet.
The energy derived from the sunlight is very much affected by the atmospheric pollution. Future solar power and energy are very much dependent on this. Let us not forget the fact that the availability of sun light is not only plentiful but also cheap. The cheap form of energy should not be missed at any cost. Let us save our Earth.