The 6 Most Common Examples of Solar Power Use Today

President Barack Obama addressed an audience of more than 450 people at the Nellis Solar Power Plant on May 27, 2009. ©U.S. Green Technology

Humans have been using sunlight for a long time. Drying wet things does not even include any technology, does it? Well, today, we are light years ahead of this simple method. Last year, the solar power sector grew by 50% worldwide, and the global photovoltaic capacity now amounts to 305 GW globally. There is a wide array of modern gadgets and technologies that are able to harness solar power, and here are some of the most common applications.

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Solar heating

Solar water heaters and space heaters are becoming increasingly popular. They allow homeowners to heat their abodes (and pools) without hefty investments in solar panels. While solar space heaters utilize liquid or air as a medium of converting sunlight into thermal energy, space heaters use primarily water for thermal transfer. There is another important distinction between passive and active systems: The former induces natural circulation and the latter uses pumps for circulating water.

In new light

LED technology is a true game-changer. It is a real win-win, providing optimal lighting with the minimal power consumption. And to take the efficiency to the next level, one can also connect a set of fittings via a battery-charged system that operates on sunlight. Outdoor solar lighting is a viable option as well. It involves solar panels that charge the batteries during the day and let them power the lights during the night.

Rooftop solar

Despite the steady influx of new tech marvels, rooftop solar still sits on top of the list. It empowers people to save thousands of dollars annually on utility bills. Apart from that, solar panels dramatically reduce the carbon footprint. Thus, it does not come as a surprise that the market is expanding at a steady pace. For example, nowadays, one should not have trouble finding a quality 5kW solar system. Even better, it is estimated that a solar installation of this type pays off after 6-9 years.

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Solar transportation

Means of transpiration powered by photovoltaic energy represent an exciting frontier of innovation. It encompasses airplanes, satellites, cars, subways, railroads, even roads. Solar planes have proved that one can navigate the world without relying on fossil fuels. Furthermore, solar buses have emerged in countries like China and contribute to the reduction of the carbon footprint. At last, solar cars are no longer just four-wheeled paragons of energy efficiency, they have also entered racing competitions!

A new way of cooking on solar power

Many people are unaware that the sun can aid them in daily activities such as cooking. Believe it or not, culinary endeavors are rather expensive and not just because of the groceries. So, it is time to think outside the box, or to be more precise, cook in the box. Namely, instead of a traditional oven, you can opt for a solar one. The tools you need to pull this off are a thermometer, duct tape, Styrofoam insulation, aluminum foil, cooking bag, pan and of course, a box.

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Charging electronics

We can take advantage of solar power to keep our gadgets and electronics running. We are talking about smartphones, tablets, e-readers, wearables, music speakers, dryers, and a plethora of other devices. This market is still in its infancy, but the solar chargers are expected to gain way more traction in 2017 and beyond. Solar energy already poses a reliable backup source of power, but it can also serve as a primary one. The show goes on even in the wake of a grid going down.

Under the sun

Homeowners and business people seek to tap into renewable resources. After all, the initial costs of implementation are a drop in the bucket compared to the long-term benefits. Ultimately, you have a chance to avoid grid dependency and volatile electricity prices.

So, the power derived from the sun is a blessing we cannot afford to disregard. It can be used to power everything from the iPhone to aircraft. We can even provide power to systems after the sun sets on the horizon. The list of examples of solar energy use is long and it is getting even longer with each passing day.

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