Solar Energy Tech: Solar Panels and the Future of Energy

The future of energy seems quite cloudy at the moment. Whether it’s Brexit cloudiness or Trump cloudiness or general election political uncertainty, one thing is for sure: the world is changing and evolving as we speak.

The demand for clean energy is at an all-time high. Whether it’s climate change or pollution concerns or simply wanting to reduce one’s dependence on fossil fuels, the world is changing and evolving to satisfy these demands.

One area that’s seen a huge rise in demand is solar power. Overnight, this market has grown from nothing to something. It started in Japan decades ago and has since then taken the world by storm. In 2020 alone, the market value of solar power exceeded that of nuclear power for the first time ever. That’s quite the rise!

But that’s only the tip of the iceberg. The world’s largest solar power markets are currently Japan, China, and the United States. Not only are these countries ground zero for solar power development, they’re also the world’s three largest economies. This makes perfect sense because more than anywhere else, these countries need reliable and affordable energy as a tool to boost their respective economies. It’s an incredible market that is only going to continue to grow.

So how does one go about harnessing the power of the sun? You start with solar panels! Not the ones you might think though. These days, people usually think of solar panels when it comes to generating electricity. But that’s actually quite a narrow perception. For years, those who specialize in the solar industry have been promoting the use of solar thermal technology, or STT for short.

Let’s rewind the clock a bit. Back in the 1980s, everyone knew what solar power was. It was the power of the Sun. But back then, it was more of a novelty than anything else. People still used oil and other fossil fuels for light and heat. In many cases, solar power was viewed as a backup plan only. But times have changed and so has the industry. Those who specialize in solar have realized it’s more than a novelty. It’s a way of life. And a life fully dedicated to saving the world one house at a time via solar power.

Here’s where STT shines. STT allows for the capture of the sun’s heat and the direct use of that heat for various applications, including heating, cooling, and even cooking. STT allows for the creation of a more centralized and efficient power system. Generally, these systems are more efficient and less expensive than the traditional system. Which makes sense, because you’re not wasting energy to heat a house or cool a house you’re not wasting! Instead, you’re capturing and utilizing that energy right where you need it. This, in turn, leads to more reliable power supplies and lower utility bills. This is why the global market for solar thermal power is projected to hit 25 gigawatts by 2025.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Before you can dive into the world of solar thermal power, you have to know a bit about the basics of solar energy. This article will briefly cover the basics of solar power and how it works.

What Is Solar Power?

When most people think of solar power, they usually think about the familiar yellow box with the sun logo on it. Most people have seen this logo and assumed that this is what solar power is. But, in reality, solar power is much more complicated than that.

Let’s take a step back and establish some terms. When we talk about solar power, we’re usually referring to photovoltaic, or PV for short. PV is an abbreviation for photovoltaic. It’s the process of generating electricity from sunlight.

There are actually multiple forms of solar power, and they all work on the same basic concept. But PV is probably the most popular and accessible technology. And that’s likely because it’s such a fundamental part of the industry. You can’t have solar power without PV.

To start with, let’s establish the difference between solar cells and modules. A solar cell is the fundamental building block of PV. A solar cell is extremely lightweight and thin (relative to a module). A single solar cell can generate enough electricity to power a small light bulb. The amount of power available from a single cell varies, but it’s usually quoted at between 0.5 and 1 watt. A module is a pre-assembled collection of solar cells.

Next, let’s discuss the different ways one can use solar power. There are five principal ways to use solar power:


The most basic and most common use of solar power is straight forward. It’s the most basic form of solar power, and the one that will likely be used first by those who are new to the idea of solar power. With electricity, you can use anything from small appliances such as light bulbs and kettles to larger loads such as heat pumps and water heaters. There are even some larger systems that are capable of powering entire buildings. The amount of power generated varies, but it’s usually quoted at about 2 to 5 watts per square foot.

This may not sound like a lot of power, but compared to what you’d get from a small wind turbine, or even a large one, it’s a small potato. These days, you can get small wind turbines that generate a few watts of power. To get the same output from a solar-powered system, you’d need at least a 10 square foot system.


Depending on the location, the climate, and the time of day, your solar power can be converted into either heat or electricity, the two most common forms of solar power. During the day, when the sun is beaming down, you can use your solar power to heat your home or water. During the wintertime, when the sun isn’t shining, you can use your solar power to generate electricity. But during the summertime, you can use your solar power to generate both heat and electricity. This makes it suitable for use in all climates.

One of the best things about solar power is that you don’t need a lot of it to achieve great results. Just a small solar cell or two could provide you with either heat or electricity, depending on which one is more important to you at the time. For example, you might only need one solar cell to generate enough heat to keep your home comfortable during the day. But if you’re looking for electricity to power devices like fridges, freezers, and kettles, you might need a larger panel. This is why large-scale solar power projects are often made up of multiple panels, each one slightly larger than the one before it. This way, you can have electricity at all times without needing a large amount of solar power. And it also means you can use any size solar power system to achieve great results.


Light is another way of using solar power. If you’ve ever seen the movie Avatar, you know what I’m talking about. In that movie, the main character, or avatar, uses an energy weapon called a Lightning Rod to shoot beams of bright light. Those who specialized in the field of light research knew exactly what that was. With light, you can use the sun’s rays to see things that are otherwise invisible to the naked eye. So if you live in an area where it gets dark at night, you could use your solar panels to generate light that is safe for viewing. During the day, it’s best to keep things hidden from direct sunlight so as to not risk damage to your property or belongings. When the sun is beaming down, you could use your solar power to illuminate your home in bright, blinding light. This might be fun for the summer days, but bear in mind that it can be quite dangerous if used improperly. In such cases, goggles are recommended to protect your eyesight.


Finally, we have water. Did you know that some corals are capable of photosynthesis? This means they can extract sugar from the air and water and turn it into energy. This energy can then be used to survive. If you’ve got lots of sunshine and fresh water, you could produce sugar via photosynthesis and use it to fuel your home or even business. This would not only be efficient, but it would also be a way of powering your home without having to rely on costly utility bills. Just because we don’t usually think about solar power in these terms doesn’t mean it can’t be used to generate water. If you’re located in an area that gets flooded frequently, you can use your solar power to generate electricity which you can then translate into usable water.

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