Solar energy can be recovered in several ways:
1. Focusing Collectors: These are made up of movable mirrors, called heliostats, which moves to track the sun to make it more efficient, so that it can provide a temperature reaching 4000 degrees C. This high temperature is ideal for use in a solar furnace for research and industrial use that is environmentally free. Focusing collectors can also be used to generate electricity by using the heliostats to focus the energy to a boiler, which will turn the water into steam. Focus collectors would be good to used for generating solar electricity.
2. Flat Plate Collectors: These consist of a system of pipes and insulation that are useful for providing heat via water that is heated in the pipes; ideal for homes and schools for such applications like heating swimming pools for example. They are smaller in size than the focusing collectors so are cheaper although they do not provide as much heat.
3. Solar Distillation: Solar distillation is similar to Flat Plate Collectors except it provides distilled water and not heat. Tanks or ditches are installed to the roof of a house and sea water is placed in them. Solar energy then heats this water and once it is hot enough it evaporates, turning into water vapour and then condenses into liquid water. This fresh, distilled water is then collected into a reservoir.
4. Solar Electricity: Solar electricity is generated from solar energy in two ways – by the use of Focusing Collectors and Photo-voltaic Cells. Photo-voltaic are thin pieces of semiconductors which directly convert solar radiation into solar electricity.
Solar energy does not require any fuel because it is a natural source and is freely available; also for that reason the price cannot be affected by demand and supply of fuels. Being natural and pure, it does not cause any pollution which would be released into the atmosphere, so we would be living healthier.
We should all be working together to so that natural and renewable resources are used to the best advantage. By using solar power we are inspiring others around the globe to follow suit. It is much cheaper to use this kind of energy compared with the other resources, such as electricity and gas. The cost of setting up electricity and gas may be low, but you continue to bills as you use this type of power. By making your home solar powered the only investment would be the initial cost of installation. Once that is in place there are no future payments, only if you have decided to use gas and electricity as a back up source for heating. Solar power has always been around in the past, today and we all hope that its availability in the future will continue.