What is solar energy?
Solar energy is energy radiated by the sun and which reaches the earth's surface as heat (infra red) or light rays (UV and visible light).
Plants - Exploiting the sun's energy on a global scale
The greatest users of solar energy are plants, which use sunlight for metabolic processes using photosynthesis. Every creature on Earth is dependent either directly or indirectly on the growth of plants. Indeed even fossil fuels like oil, coal and gas are, strictly speaking a type of conserved solar energy.
Photovoltaics and solar thermal transfer - Solar energy for people
To fulfil the energy requirements of humans, the sun's rays can be used in a technical way to generate electricity (Photovoltaics) or to heat water and air (Solar thermal transfer). Solar energy is the only available energy source that we are able to exploit without harming or depleting the environment.
Benefits of solar energy
- Not dependent on fossil or nucleur fuels
- No harmful CO2 emissions
- Assured for the next 4 billion years
- Supplies much more energy than is needed to manufacture the solar heating/electricity systems