Solar energy is a radiant light and heat that is gotten from the sun. It is a renewable energy and also an inexhaustible form of energy and can be converted into different forms of energy for use.

Did you know?

The measure of sunlight that strikes the earth’s surface in 1 hour 30 minutes is large enough to cater for the energy consumption needs of the world for 1 full year.

Solar Energy

What is Solar Energy?

Solar energy as earlier stated is energy gotten from the sun. The sun is an extremely inexhaustible and powerful energy source.

Solar energy is by far the most cleanest energy source available to the world today.

These radiations from the sun can be harvested by some solar technologies which would in turn convert them into other useful forms of power for easier consumption. So you can finance solar and start using solar energy.

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How Does Solar Energy Works

Solar energy technologies usually convert sunlight into electrical energy for usage. It is converted mainly by either photovoltaic (PV) panels or through mirrors that concentrate solar radiation. 

This energy converted can be used to generate electricity for personal or commercial consumption or be stored in solar batteries or thermal storage.

In summary, it is achieved by:

  1. The sunlight activates the panels on the rooftop. That is a rack-and-panel solar system
  2. The cells now produce electrical current which is a  wafer and silicon ingot.
  3. Thirdly, the electrical energy is converted.
  4. The electricity now powers your home, offices, hospitals and streets.
  5. A net meter like charge controller now measures the usage.

Solar Energy Facts

The pure fact about Solar energy is that it is the radiant light and heat directly from the Sunlight that is harnessed using a range of technologies.

The technologies used are photovoltaic to solar power to generate electricity, solar thermal energy, and solar architecture.

These are various methods deployed to harness solar energy into  electricity for human consumption.

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3 Ways of Harnessing Solar Energy

Solar energy can be harvested and converted into electrical and thermal energy using the following technologies:

  1. Photovoltaics
  2. Conversation to thermal energy 
  3. Solar Architecture 

1. The use of photovoltaics

The photovoltaic system was first discovered by Alexandre-Edmond Becquerel in 1839. Becquerel was a French physicist. The process of generating electricity from solar radiation is called the photovoltaic effect.

The use of solar panels is a good practical example of the use of photovoltaics.

Solar panels usually involve a photovoltaic array and contain a collection of hundreds of solar cells.

When these solar cells absorb sunlight, it loosens electrons which are then directed in one path into an electric current thereby producing electricity.

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2. Conversion to thermal energy

Energy from the sun can be harvested and then converted to heat as solar thermal energy either for direct or indirect use.

The application of solar thermal energy has a broader application. Asides from large electricity generation, it makes use of flat plate collectors to generate thermal energy.

Flat plate collectors are one of the devices used to capture solar radiation. These flat plate collectors can be made up of mirrors or blackened metal plates covered with one or two sheets of glass to reflect and direct the sunlight to the receiver which would collect the solar energy and convert it to heat.

The heat can either be used directly or stored for later use. Flat plate collectors are mostly used to make water heaters and have an efficiency range of about 20-80%. This range value is reliant on the design of the collector.

3. Solar architecture

Solar architecture is an architectural style that considers the sun to harvest clean and renewable solar energy. It makes use of the photovoltaic system for electricity conversion as well as passive solar energy techniques for thermal conversion.

Throughout the day, solar energy forms a part of convection as it warms objects on the earth’s surface. This is a passive solar energy technique most homes take advantage of as they use this passive solar energy to effectively regulate heat in their homes at zero costs.

This is why a building’s thermal mass is always taken into consideration as the thermal mass is what is mostly heated during the period of sunlight. 

During the night, the thermal mass would then release the heat it gathered during the day. It is efficiently regulated with the help of effective ventilation systems.

4 Advantages and 3 Disadvantages of Solar Energy

Advantages Disadvantages 
It is a renewable energy source so you would never have to bother about running out of sunlight.The cost of equipment required to harvest this solar energy is quite expensive for home/business owners to afford at a go.
Solar energy is a clean form of energy. It doesn’t release pollution that can affect the greenhouse balance while in use.The solar panel technology is also heavy and sometimes might require you to reroof the building before it can be installed.
Solar energy can be used in any area but is better suited for regions with higher sunlight and low cloud covers.Some determining factors like climate and weather conditions are out of our control and this has a relationship to how efficient the solar technologies will be.
Solar energy helps you cut costs of electric bills especially if you are a high energy consumer.

8 Solar Energy Uses

Solar energy is used for a whole a lot but the common ones are:

  1. It is used for solar water heaters 
  2. Providing power source for electric devices in the home, hospitals, schools and offices 
  3. For house heating. 
  4. For cooking by using solar gadgets
  5. It is used to power ventilation Fans
  6. Used to power pumps
  7. Used for house heating
  8. Solar energy is used in charging batteries.

Solar Energy Examples

The common 5 examples of Solar Energy are:

  1. Solar Water Heating
  2. Solar Technology 
  3. Solar Cells
  4. Solar Lighting
  5. Rooftop Solar.

Is the use of Photovoltaic Solar Panels more cost-friendly?

With the increasing developments in the solar panel industry, most homeowners have taken to solar panel installation to take advantage of solar energy.

When sunlight hits the panels, they generate direct current ( DC ) which is then converted to alternating current ( AC ) by an inverter before it is supplied to any building. This conversion is necessary as most home appliances function with only alternating currents.

You also have the option of staying on-grid i.e. you would still be connected to your utility grid and supply the excess energy generated by your solar panel to the grid. In turn, you would be granted credits on your electricity bill.


You could decide to go entirely off-grid and make use of solar batteries to store excess electricity generated from your panel.

Either way, this is a good way to save yourself the cost of paying electricity bills as well as dealing with the incessant hikes.


The solar market has grown over the last decade and is still growing with over 22 million homes having switched to using solar energy.

The use of solar panels is the best way for individual property owners to take advantage of this source of renewable energy.

Key Takeaways

  • Solar energy is a source of renewable energy
  • Solar energy can be converted to electrical or thermal energy
  • Solar panels make use of photovoltaic effects.