Solar Energy- What It Is, Why It's Important

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There is a lot of talk and enthusiasm surrounding renewable energy. At the moment, there is an enormous amount of pressure on our planet, pollution has reached an ultimate high, and natural resources are wearing thin. As a result huge multinationals as well as individuals have been looking for alternative ways to source the same amount of energy in a way that doesn't disrupt their lives.

Renewable energy is energy that comes from natural resources such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, and geothermal heat.

What is solar energy?

Solar energy is derived from the sun through the form of solar radiation. Solar powered electrical generation relies on photovoltaics and heat engines. Other solar applications include space heating and cooling through solar architecture, solar hot water, and solar cooking.

Depending on how solar energy is captured, converted and distributed it is either considered passive or active solar. Passive solar techniques include facing a building toward the sun, or designing spaces where it is possible for air to circulate naturally.


How does solar power work?

Depending on where and how solar energy is being used, technological applications will differ. For instance urban planning and architecture will utilise solar energy techniques in very ways from horticulturers. Urban planning and architecture techniques include painting buildings and roads white and planting trees. This can counteract the effects of UHI (Urban Heat Islands).

Solar lighting techniques might include building skylights, light shelves, light tubes or special windows into the design of a home of building.

Then there are a variety of ways to generate energy via solar thermal technologies. Solar thermal technologies can be used for water heating, space heating, space cooling, and process heat generation. Solar thermal energy is a special technology used for collecting solar energy for thermal energy (heat).

What are the pros and cons of solar energy?

There are a number of benefits of using solar energy including, the fact that solar panels give off no pollution, they produce electricity very quietly (unlike some other forms of renewable energy ie. wind), it can harness electricity in areas that aren't connected to national grids, installation is cost effective, and they are very efficient.


As with all good things, there are of course some cons. One being that the initial cost of solar cells can be expensive. In addition, solar energy can only produce electricity during daylight hours, which means that half of every day is wasted. And of course, solar energy is much more effective in warm climates like California. In the UK, wind as a form of renewable energy is much more effective and therefore common.

There are many simple solutions for building solar energy technologies into the structure of your home or office building. Finding one should be made a priority by everyone if we are to tackle the global environmental problems we currently face.


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Fabric Architecture Ltd has been specialising in the design,
engineering, manufacture and installation of tensile fabric structures
since 1984. Learn more about Solar Shading at http://www.fabricarchitecture.com/about-fabric/going-green

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