What is solar energy used for?
Every day our planet receives energy from the sun that’s around 200,000 times the global daily electricity generation capacity! A number of possibilities for what to do with solar energy exist, as long as we’re ready and willing to take complete advantage of them. The main use of solar energy is for the generation of electricity.
The energy present in each particle of sunlight (known as a photon) can be used by photovoltaic cells to generate electricity. When sunlight falls on the surface of these cells, it creates free electrons which form the basis of electric currents. Since each PV cell can generate only around 2 watts of power, a large number of them are connected together to form solar modules. Large arrays of solar modules form a solar panel, which can provide thousands of kilowatts of electricity.
Solar panels are being used by households to heat or cool homes, depending on the weather, and to power lights and appliances. The main driver behind this home use of solar energy is to significantly lower monthly utility bills. Some utilities manage huge plots of solar panels to provide electricity to their customers.
With rising awareness of this renewable and pollution-free source of energy, people are switching to using solar energy to power almost everything. From generating electricity for their homes to using solar-powered gadgets when outside their home, there’s a marked shift towards this cleaner form of energy.
Other Uses of Solar Energy
Apart from electricity generation, solar power is being used as thermal energy. This has been used for something as simple as heating water to desalination in large plants.