The Green Revolution; 7 Major Applications of Solar Energy
Burning of coal and petroleum had been the only way for humanity to harvest energy for a long time before technology developed enough for us to realize the potential of solar energy. Solar energy is the process of using sunlight to draw out energy. This is the new hope for humanity and also a major player in the green revolution. With the world facing global warming and its effects, another concern is the exhaustion of natural resources like coal and petroleum for energy. Solar energy helps solve a lot of problems in one go. The cost of installing a solar power grid in various places is much more than simply taking energy for the city’s main grid but in the long run, it fares out to be cheaper and also a better decision for mother earth. A lot of the world has already adopted solar energy so let’s have a look at 10 major applications of it as of today.
China has been a leader in using solar power for water heating for domestic use. A lot of countries have followed suit. Homeowners are now urged to get solar water heating kits for their homes. This solution has resulted in decreasing the overall electricity usage and has fared out cheaper for the people. Solar geysers are now a common sight in the USA as well. Solar water heaters are equally efficient and also have the added advantage of being an eco-friendly solution.
In many coastal areas, there is a recurring problem of water scarcity. There isn’t enough potable water all-year-round for the residents of these places. The water is simply too alkaline and requires distillation in order to be made consumable. A lot of cities and such areas have now started depending on solar energy to power their distilleries. Lower overall electricity consumption has resulted in a cheaper solution for large scale distilleries.
An initiative taken by many states in the USA has resulted in huge solar energy power grids that are capable of powering a substantially populated city. These power grids can produce a direct voltage that can be used for domestic as well as light commercial processes by the people of the city.
Solar power cells are commonly seen on street lights and traffic lights these days. Solar-powered lights are the future in commercial lighting. Commercial areas need lighting on a very large scale which amounts to a lot of energy consumption. Switching to solar powered lights to fulfill the demands has resulted in huge areas being lit up via solar-powered street lights. Not only that, in other places such as societies, airports, malls, parking spaces and so on normal lights are being replaced by solar lights. These not only look neat and clean, but the removal of bulky electricity cables from the whole scenario has also made these places a lot safer.
In areas where the temperature is extreme and changes quickly, people depend a lot on air conditioning to maintain a certain temperature in their homes. Heaters and cooling systems installed in homes use up a lot of electricity as they mostly run round the clock. Apart from the heavy electricity bill, so much usage of electricity is anyways bad for the environment. Homeowners here have an excellent option of installing solar-powered heaters and coolers which work equally well and are also eco-friendly. Even though this is a new concept, people have very quickly understood the advantages and have installed solar heaters and coolers in their homes.
Farmlands need proper irrigation all throughout the year for the crop and their demands are fulfilled by water pumps that run on electricity. Farming is a noble activity and pumps used for irrigation aren’t the major consumers of electricity but there is an option to be totally free from the grasp of huge electricity bills of the pump. A solar-powered pump can do the job with equal efficiency and speed. The only difference is that it will be cheaper in the long run and like all other solar-powered products, this too is eco-friendly.
Drying of Produce
This traditional method of using solar energy to dry crops and animal products is one where solar energy is not converted to electricity. Here the produce is first kept in a box that is slowly exposed to heat radiation. The contents of the box dry up in a while and have increased sugar concentration. People usually use direct sunlight to dry things like chilies and tomatoes but this process needs to be done in a properly controlled environment to achieve the goal. Spreading the produce in the open for sunlight also has other complications like the danger of birds and squirrels eating away at the stock and also unexpected rains which can mess up everything.
A solar furnace consists of placing an object in the path of concentrated solar radiation using mirrors on a slanted surface. Such furnaces are mostly used in laboratories to study different types of materials at high temperatures. In such a setup you can heat the object to a required temperature without having to worry about any type of contamination. You might think that this application won’t be used as much but surprisingly a lot of research work all over the world is done using these furnaces.
A solar cooker looks like a simple wooden box with a glass top but is properly insulated. The insides are painted black to have minimum heat loss. In the view of vigorously decreasing supplies of natural gas and coal for cooking, solar cooking has come along to bring some relief for the concerned. Remote places with no access to electricity and methane are totally dependent on solar cooking for their food. When food is placed in the sun inside the solar cooker, the heat radiations are trapped inside the cooker. The heat keeps building up gradually and to speed it up one can even add mirrors to direct more sunlight into the box. The food takes a bit longer to cook this way but it is definitely a trend that is slowly picking up all over the world.
With the worrisome situation of global warming opening up our eyes to the importance of green energy, solar energy comes to the forefront to help us with this problem. Solar-powered solutions are efficient and practical. They hardly give out any byproducts like CO2 and also end up fairing out cheaper. Solar energy is definitely the future of our world when it comes to solving the energy crisis.
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