Solar Energy

The sun is probably the most important source of renewable energy available today.

The main advantages of solar energy are that it is clean, able to operate independently or in conjunction with traditional energy sources, and is remarkably renewable. Solar energy is the conversion of sunlight into usable energy forms. Solar energy technologies use the sun's energy and light to provide heat, light, hot water, electricity, and even cooling, for homes, businesses, and industry.
The basic building block of a PV system is the PV cell, which is a semiconductor device that converts solar energy into direct-current electricity. PV cells are interconnected to form a PV module.
The PV modules, combined with a set of additional application-dependent system components (e.g. inverters, batteries, electrical components, and mounting systems), form a PV system. PV systems are highly modular; i.e. modules can be linked together to provide power ranging from a few watts to hundreds of megawatts.
There are a variety of technologies that have been developed to take advantage of solar energy. Solar photovoltaic’s (PV), solar thermal electricity and solar heating and cooling are well established solar technologies.

Solar photovoltaic’s (PV)

Solar radiation emitted from the sun can be used to generate electricity through a PV system. Photovoltaic systems convert solar radiation to electricity via a variety of methods. The most common approach is to use silicon panels, which generate an electrical current. Sunlight is made of a stream of photons which are absorbed and interact with electrons the solar energy knocks electrons loose from their atoms, allowing the electrons to flow through the material to produce electricity. This process of converting light (photons) to electricity (voltage) is called the photovoltaic (PV) effect. These currents are conducted by wires to the electrical system of the building to be used on-site, exported to the grid or stored in batteries for later consumption.

Solar thermal systems

Solar Thermal Systems or solar hot water systems seek to store heat from the sun that can be used for a variety of purposes. A solar water heating system uses solar collectors, normally mounted on a roof, to capture the energy released by the sun to heat water for domestic and industrial uses. Electrical energy is consumed to run a pump circulating a fluid, which is heated in the solar collector by the sun’s energy. A conventional boiler or immersion heater can be used to make the water hotter, or to provide hot water when solar energy is unavailable. Sunlight is free, so once you've paid for the initial installation your hot water costs will be reduced.

Solar cooling system

Solar cooling systems use concentrating solar collectors and absorption chillers to drive the cooling process. Concentrating solar collectors use mirrors to focus the sun’s energy on a tube containing fluid. The mirrors follow the sun, heating the fluid to very high temperatures. Absorption chillers operate by using this solar-heated fluid, rather than fossil fuels or electricity, to drive the refrigeration process. Using solar energy with absorption chillers reduces site-generated greenhouse gases as well as the emissions created when fossil fuels are burned to create electricity.