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Solar Energy Essay

579 words - 3 pages

Today one of the most popular and well known alternative forms of energy is solar power. There are two types of solar energy, Passive Solar - which uses natural processes without mechanical equipment, and additional electrical or gas energy to operate, and Active Solar - which uses nature's resources with the inclusion of mechanical equipment and hardware driven by electricity and gas.Solar energy has many advantages. It is an easy, quiet, reliable source of energy. Solar energy was first used it was used in satellites, and has since grown to prove that it can be used for many other things. "Nowadays the use of solar electricity is widespread. In remote areas where there is no connection to the ...view middle of the document...

Buildings that use passive solar heating have large south facing windows that direct sunlight in the building where it is absorbed and stored during the day, then slowly released at night when the heat is need most. This is also known as direct gain.Other ways of solar heating are through sunspaces and trombe walls. Sunspaces are made of glass, and look similar to a greenhouse. They are built on the Southern side of the building and are warmed by sun passing through the glass and then circulated through the building. Trombe walls are made of materials that absorb lots of heat, they are very thick, black painted walls that face south. The heat is held in by a pane of glass or plastic glazing that is placed a few inches in front of the wall. The heat is built up during the day and then gives off heat at night as it cools.One problem with solar heating is that it can be problematic during the hot summer months when the sun is most potent. However, there are many design features that help to keep buildings cool in the summer. For example, overhangs can be designed to shade the large windows when the sun is strong, and the building could be designed to use fresh-air ventilation.Solar energy is the best form of energy because it is not depleting any of our natural resources in the process, but instead uses one of our most powerful resources to benefit us and help us to live in a comfortable environment. "Passive solar buildings are environmentally responsive and use nature's elements in providing shelter and comfort to people in a manner that is healthy and minimally destructive of the environment."

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