Everyday the sun radiates energy down to the earth's surface. These rays of sunlight can be turned into several forms of renewable energies (excluding tidal and geothermal).
a naturally occurring source of energy that does not come from a fossil
or nuclear based fuel. The suns rays are turned into renewable energy
in both indirect and direct manners. Indirectly, solar radiation
influences the Earth's water, air current, and photosynthesis
cycles These cycles are used to generate hydro, wind and wave, and
bioenergy respectively. Directly, solar radiation can turned to
electricity, as well as absorbed for heating.
For further information visit DOE's Solar Energy Resource Basics page and SEIA's Consumer Guide to Solar Power, which informs potential solar residential customers on financing options available, contracting terms to be aware of, and other useful tips.
Videos describing some of the technologies found below can be found on ISEA's Educational Videos page.
Solar Electricity- Photovoltaic (PV)
Photovoltaic systems operate using a principle known as the Photovoltaic effect. This effects allows solar pv panel to directly convert solar radiation into electricity.
For further information visit DOE's Photovoltaic Technology Basics page.
Solar Hot Water - Solar Thermal
Building scale Active Solar Thermal systems typically involve the use of a solar collector. These collectors contain tubes which hold a liquid that is heated by the sun and is used for domestic hot water. Solar thermal is also used on a utility scale (larger than building) to generate electricity. An example of a utility scale system is provided below.
Building Scale Solar Thermal
For further details on Residential Scale Solar Thermal visit HowStuffWorks.com's Solar Water Heaters page.
Visit our Community Solar Resources portal to learn all about how Community Solar works!
Boyle, Godfrey. Renewable Energy: Power For A Sustainable Future. Oxford: Oxford UP in Association with the Open University, 2004. Print.