Solar Energy: What Do You Use It For?

There is no question that modern life would be very different without modern appliances. From dishwashers and clothes dryers to heat pumps and air-conditioning, all of these household items rely on a power source that we take for granted but would be lost without – the sun! With the right design and some engineering ingenuity, it is now possible to produce electricity using the energy from the sun. As a society, we rely on electricity so much that we may not even think about it much. However, without it there would be no refrigerators, no ovens, and certainly no lights or power tools. So it is time to change that thinking and start considering what other applications consumers might have for solar energy beyond powering your home.

Here we will discuss some of the more common ways solar energy is being used and how it is changing the world around us.

Generating Electricity

Today, the most common and simplest way to generate electricity using the sun’s energy is through photovoltaic cells or solar panels. These are essentially just glass and solar cells that harness the power of the sun to produce electricity. When exposed to light, the cells are able to generate a small voltage differential, which can be increased through proper electrical engineering and the use of common silicon wafers. Therefore, if you have the sun’s rays shining on your solar panels for just a few minutes each day, you will easily be able to have enough electricity to meet your needs. When talking to a solar professional, they will be able to tell you how many minutes you can expect the sun to be shining on your solar panels each day to generate the amount of electricity you need. This is also known as the daily average sunshine duration.

Of course, the amount of electricity you need will depend on several factors. If you have a large family and need more electricity than a single panel can provide, you can always add another one to generate more electricity. In areas where electricity is very expensive and/or not readily available, solar could be a valuable source of power. In areas where there is lots of sun you could even install solar cooling which could also generate electricity.

Using Solar In Agriculture

Although most people think about using solar power in their homes, it is actually a very common practice in agriculture as well. As above, when the sun is shining on your solar panels, they are able to generate electricity which can then be used to power tools or other devices used in the field. This can be a great way to increase the productivity of your farm and reduce your costs. If you are currently paying for electricity in lots of ways, using solar power in agriculture could be a smart move.

Shedding Lights

Apart from powering your home and/or farm, another very common use of solar energy is to illuminate areas that would otherwise be dark. This could be anything from general lighting to specific security or emergency lighting. For example, if you have a shed and want to let people know you are there, you could install some bright solar LED lights around the shed to provide better visibility for people passing by. Or, if you own a construction site and want to be able to work at night, you could install some high-intensity discharge (HID) lamps which provide bright, natural light for efficient work.


As the name would suggest, off-grid solar power is electricity generation beyond the control of your utilities. This could be anything from solar power owned and operated by a single individual or a family, to large-scale community solar energy projects. When talking to a solar professional, you will learn that off-grid solar power is a great way to provide electricity for places that lack resources or infrastructure to support traditional power generation. This could be anywhere! Whether it is a small town in the desert or a remote island in the pacific, off-grid solar power is available for those who need it and have the sun’s rays to thank for providing it.

More Ways To Use Solar

Although the above suggestions are some of the more popular ways that solar energy is being used, it is certainly not limited to just those. In addition to electricity generation, solar can be used to provide heat for various purposes. For example, if you have a greenhouse and want to be able to grow your own food all year long, solar can be used to warm the greenhouse and enable you to grow food in all conditions.

Or, if you have a pool and want to be able to use it year round, you can use solar to heat the pool and provide a relaxing place for you and your family to rest and enjoy the outdoors.

Or, in some areas, solar can even be used to desalinate water. In some regions of the world, especially in the arid southwest, solar water desalination combined with electricity generation could become a valuable resource due to increasing water scarcity.

As you can see, there are many different ways that solar energy can be used and changed our world for the better. When thinking about new appliances and how energy is supplied to our homes and workplaces, it is important to remember that the sun is providing free energy right now and we should take advantage of it.

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