Solar energy is electricity that is produced from the sun’s radiation. It can be divided into direct and indirect categories, and is harnessed through the use of photovoltaic cells, which generate electricity with no moving parts, no noise, and with no production of pollution or waste.
There are a few different types of solar energy, two being passive and active solar energy. There are both similarities and differences between passive and active solar energy and the biggest difference between the two lies in the applications that they are used for.
Applications of Solar Energy
Active solar energy technologies convert sunlight into other forms of energy by using a particular energy transfer fluid. This is most often water or air but can also be a variety of other substances as well.
These technologies are used to convert solar energy into useable heat and cause air movement for ventilation or cooling. Solar hot water systems, except for those which are based on the thermosiphon, typically use pumps or fans to circulate the water. Furthermore, these technologies use electrical or mechanical equipment to increase the usable heat in a system.
Comparison of Passive and Active Solar Energy
When compared to passive solar energy, active solar energy is obviously very different. Passive solar systems require no additional energy to operate, whereas active solar systems do. Because of this, passive systems have zero operating costs and emit no greenhouse gasses in operation.
Benefits of Solar Energy
Active solar energy offers a number of wonderful benefits. For one, this energy is low maintenance, as once you have a solar energy system installed there are no recurring costs and you really never have to worry about maintenance because they operate silently, there are no moving parts and they do not release offensive smells.
They are also environmentally friendly and do not contribute to such environmental concerns as global warming. Solar energy does not pollute the air and is clean and renewable. Then there are also the financial aspects, as solar energy saves you a lot of money. Once your initial investment has been paid off, the energy you will be harnessing from the sun is practically free so you will be saving in spades.
Financial incentives are also available from the government which will help you to reduce your cost even further, and on top of all this, solar energy is not affected by the supply and demand of fuel and so therefore it is not ever subjected to the increasing price of gasoline.