An Introduction to Solar Energy
Humanity has existed for thousands of years and in that time, each generation has attempted to harness natural resources in a bid for energy. Our most ancient ancestors relied on fire to provide heat and warmth, and this resource is still present today. It’s not the only available source of power however and with the discovery of electrical power as far back as 1819, it didn’t take long for people to switch from older techniques in favour of this newer, far more effective energy form.
After a number of decades it was discovered that the use of electricity was taking a toll on the environment, so leading researchers and scientists set about attempting to harness a new type of power – one that would come directly from the sun’s rays. The earliest forms of solar panels were invented in the 1950s and although they did exactly what was required of them, they were very expensive to manufacture and only the most elite could afford them.
As a result, these panels were typically installed to provide an additional source of power within educational facilities. It would take a further four decades before this form of energy would become a household commodity and these days, tens of thousands of homes in Australia enjoy the benefits of solar energy to power their water sources and electrical outlets in equal measure.
How does solar power work?
In the early 1940s, inventors discovered that the rays from the sun could be harnessed when exposed to particular type of materials, before being converted into energy via a primitive screen and coil system. After extensive research, this system was modified so that it would automatically harvest the sun’s rays, store them within a set of coils and then transmit the energy via a specially developed system of cables.
Although the effectiveness of these coils may have changed over the past few decades – what with the introduction of newer, more beneficial materials – their purpose remains the same. The panel will consist of a large, flat area that houses the individual coils and components within. This flat space acts as a light-absorbing sheet and once harvested, it’s these rays that are turned into energy.
Many privately owned properties now feature a panel or two (which can be purchased at an electronics store) and once installed and connected, they can collect an incredible amount of rays from the sun every hour, before converting these rays into energy that can be put to good use within a home. In most instances, this energy will help to power a water storage unit in much the same way as an electronic current might do.
Instead of relying on electricity to heat a storage unit the solar energy will do so instead, and as the sun’s rays are free – the need to cater to electricity bills can be reduced. As electrical current can take its toll on the environment panels are also considered far more environmentally friendly, even with consistent usage.