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Solar Energy 7 Essay

2375 words - 10 pages



The radiant light and heat from the sun, has been harnessed by humans since ancient times using a range of ever-evolving technologies. The solar-powered resources such as wind and wave power, hydroelectricity and biomass, account for most of the available renewable energy on earth. A partial list of solar applications and disinfection, day lighting, solar hot water, solar cooking, and high temperature process heat for industrial purposes.


1. Energy from the sun

2. Applications of solar technology

• Architecture and urban planning

• Agriculture and horticulture

• Solar lighting

• Heating, Cooling and ...view middle of the document...

 Photosynthesis captures approximately 3,000 EJ per year in biomass. 

The amount of solar energy reaching the surface of the planet is so vast that in one year it is about twice as much as will ever be obtained from all of the Earth's non-renewable resources of coal, oil, natural gas, and mined uranium combined.

From the table of resources it would appear that solar, wind or biomass would be sufficient to supply all of our energy needs, however, the increased use of biomass has had a negative effect on global warming and dramatically increased food prices by diverting forests and crops into biofuel production. As intermittent resources, solar and wind raise other issues.


Average insolation showing land area (small black dots) required to replace the world primary energy supply with solar electricity. Insolation for most people is from 150 to 300 W/m^2 .

Solar energy refers primarily to the use of solar radiation for practical ends. However, all renewable energies, other than geothermal and tidal, derive their energy from the sun. Solar technologies are broadly characterized as either passive or active depending on the way they capture, convert and distribute sunlight.

Active solar techniques use photovoltaic panels, pumps, and fans to convert sunlight into useful outputs. Passive solar techniques includes selecting materials with favourable thermal properties, designing spaces that naturally circulate air, and referencing the position of a building to a sun.


Darmstadt University of Technology in Germany won the 2007 Solar Dechathlon in Washington, D.C. with this passive house designed specifically for the humid and hot subtropical climate.

Advanced Solar architecture and urban planning methods were first employed by the Greeks and Chinese, who oriented their buildings toward the south to provide light and warmth.

The common features of passive solar architecture are orientation relative to the sun, compact proportion(a low surface area to volume ratio), selective shading (overhangs) and thermal mass.

The most recent approaches to solar design use computer modeling tying together solar lighting, heating and ventilation systems in an integrated solar design package.

Urban heat islands(UHI) are metropolitan areas with higher temperature than that of the surrounding environment.


Greenhouses like these in the Westland municipality of the Netherlands grow vegetables, fruits and flowers.

Agriculture and horticulture seek to optimize the capture of solar energy in order to optimize the productivity of plants.

Techniques such as timed planting cycles, tailored row orientation, staggered heights between rows and the mixing of plant varieties can improve crop yields.


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