Solar Energy Essay

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SOLAR ENERGY Solar energy is the most readily available and free source of energy since prehistoric times. It is estimated that solar energy equivalent to over 15,000 times the world's annual commercial energy consumption reaches the earth every year. The surface of the earth receives about 1014 kW from sun in the form of solar energy which is approximately five orders of magnitude greater than that currently being consumed from all resources. It is evident that sun will last for 1011 years. India receives solar energy in the region of 5 to 7 kWh/m2 for 300 to 330 days in a year. This energy is sufficient to set up 20 MW solar power plant per square kilometre land area. Solar energy can be utilized through two different routes, as solar thermal route and solar electric (solar photovoltaic) routes. Solar thermal route uses the sun's heat to produce hot water or air, cook food, drying materials etc. Solar photovoltaic uses sun’s heat to produce electricity for lighting home and building, running motors, pumps, electric appliances, and lighting. There are two obvious obstacles to harnessing solar energy. Firstly it is not constantly available on earth. Thus some form of storage is needed to sustain solar energy through the night and during rainy season. Secondly the solar energy is diffused. Although the total amount of energy is enormous, the collection and conservation of solar energy into useful forms must be carried out over a large area which entails large capital investments. . SOLAR WATER HEATING By using solar radiation, water or any fluid can be heated by using a solar collector. Such systems can provide hot water for different applications in industries directly or as boiler feed and also in hostels, hotels and canteens. There are two types of solar collectors in use: 1. Flat plate collector

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