Information about Solar Energy
Definition- Solar energy, radiant light and heat from the sun, is harnessed using a range of ever-evolving technologies such as solar heating, solar photovoltaics, solar thermal electricity, solar architecture and artificial photosynthesis.
The Earth receives 174 petawatts (PW) of incoming solar radiation (insolation) at the upper atmosphere.Approximately 30% is reflected back to space while the rest is absorbed by clouds, oceans and land masses. The spectrum of solar light at the Earth's surface is mostly spread across the visible and near-infrared ranges with a small part in the near-ultraviolet.
Earth's land surface, oceans and atmosphere absorb solar radiation, and this raises their temperature. Warm air containing evaporated water from the oceans rises, causing atmospheric circulation or convection. When the air reaches a high altitude, where the temperature is low, water vapor condenses into clouds, which rain onto the Earth's surface, completing the water cycle. The latent heat of water condensation amplifies convection, producing atmospheric phenomena such as wind,cyclones and anti-cyclones.Sunlight absorbed by the oceans and land masses keeps the surface at an average temperature of 14 °C.By photosynthesis green plants convert solar energy into chemical energy, which produces food, wood and the biomass from which fossil fuels are derived.
|Yearly Solar fluxes & Human Energy Consumption|
|Biomass potential||100–300 EJ|
|Primary energy use (2010)||539 EJ|
|Electricity (2010)||66.5 EJ|
Solar energy can be harnessed at different levels around the world, mostly depending on distance from the equator.
They are differentiated from most building-mounted and other decentralised solar power applications because they supply power at the utility level, rather than to a local user or users. They are sometimes also referred to as solar farms or solar ranches, especially when sited in agricultural areas. The generic expression utility-scale solar is sometimes used to describe this type of project.
The power conversion source is via photovoltaic modules that convert light directly to electricity. This differs from the other large-scale solar generation technology, concentrated solar power.
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