Facts About Solar Energy

Free Energy for ALL!

When understanding the facts about solar energy we need to keep in mind that for generations passive solar energy has been used in buildings by people without college degrees and with no formal training in architecture or building.

They have simply followed traditions where the heat from the sun was welcomed at certain times of the year, and thermal mass was used to store that heat. Those traditional buildings are still being constructed in many nations, purely because 'they work' thermally, mainatining comfortable temperatures in but the most extreme conditions.

Simple solar passive principles at work in this traditional pottery hut.

More importantly for those of us in developed nations, is to better utilise an energy that is free, unlimited and produces no pollution.

The Facts About Solar Energy

Only about 10% of the suns radiated energy hits the earth in the form of sunlight, the rest dissipates into the solar system before it reaches us, but even then it provides more energy that we could ever use. On a clear day it can produce up to 1000 watts of energy per square metre.

Depending on where you are on earth, how close you are to the equator, and the time of year, you will have access to more or less of the suns energy, which will in turn influence the efficiency of solar technologies.

The equator is where the highest levels of solar radiation are found and as we move farther away across the latitudes it gradually decreases. During the winter months the earth is slightly further away from the sun, also influencing the levels of solar radiation, also known as 'insolation'. Clouds, pollution, smoke and local conditions also play a part in the amount of sunlight that reaches us.

The most popular uses for solar energy at the moment are in producing electricity, heating hot water, and also of course passive solar energy that can be used to heat our homes without any technology at all, just good planning design.

Solar technology is renowned for being highly inefficient, but work is constantly being undertaken to improve the performance of PV (photovoltaic) cells, as we strive to reduce carbon emissions and rely more on natural or green energy sources.

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