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Solar Energy

  • Date Submitted: 08/22/2011 08:18 AM
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Solar energy
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This article is about all uses of solar energy. For generation of electricity using solar energy, see Solar power.

Nellis Solar Power Plant in the United States, the largest photovoltaic power plant in North America.
Renewable energy |
Solar energy
Tidal power
Wave power
Wind power |
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Solar energy, radiant light and heat from the sun, has been harnessed by humans since ancient times using a range of ever-evolving technologies. Solar radiation, along with secondary solar-powered resources such as wind and wave power, hydroelectricity and biomass, account for most of the available renewable energy on earth. Only a minuscule fraction of the available solar energy is used.
Solar powered electrical generation relies on heat engines and photovoltaics. Solar energy's uses are limited only by human ingenuity. A partial list of solar applications includes space heating and cooling through solar architecture, potable water via distillation and disinfection, daylighting, solar hot water, solar cooking, and high temperature process heat for industrial purposes.To harvest the solar energy, the most common way is to use solar panels.
Solar technologies are broadly characterized as either passive solar or active solar depending on the way they capture, convert and distribute solar energy. Active solar techniques include the use of photovoltaic panels and solar thermal collectors to harness the energy. Passive solar techniques include orienting a building to the Sun, selecting materials with favorable thermal mass or light dispersing properties, and designing spaces that naturally circulate air.
Contents   * 1 Energy from the Sun   * 2 Applications of solar technology       * 2.1 Architecture and urban planning       * 2.2 Agriculture and horticulture       * 2.3 Solar lighting       * 2.4 Solar thermal           * 2.4.1...


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