Solar panels have rapidly taken over the world. More and more buildings are now installing solar panels. But what are solar panels exactly? And what are they used for?
In simple words, solar panels are cells that collect energy from sunlight and produce electric power. This electric power can be either stored in batteries or used to power up the equipment. Solar panels can power anything that runs on electricity, from calculators to electric vehicles. So, the scope of their uses is broad and still expanding.
Now let’s discuss some of the uses of solar energy and how they transform the world.
Uses of Solar Energy
Solar panels have a broad range of domestic and commercial applications. I have listed below some of them.
Remote Power Supply
Sourcing power would be fine if you live in a city. But for people living in remote areas where no power supply reaches, it is a problem.
For example, most villages and camps in deserts and on top of mountains usually have no supply to national power. Installing a transmission line for a few consumers is too expensive and impractical. Moreover, it is hard to install transmission lines in some terrains. For them, the most convenient way of sourcing power is solar energy.
Portable Power Supply
When you go on tours, you need the power to charge your phone or lamp. You cannot always stop at places to charge your gadgets, but a portable solar power supply can be handy.
Similarly, many applications like satellites require a portable power supply and cannot be powered through the grid. Installing a small solar power unit on these products allows them to function independently.
Lesser Electricity Bills
One of the key benefits of solar panels is their almost free electricity generation after installation. On average, most on-grid solar power plants cover their setup costs in 5-10 years and work for almost 25 years. So, they produce free electricity for most of their life which helps reduce electricity bills.
Long-term Source of Income
Besides reducing electricity bills, excessive solar power can also be sold commercially. Many private solar power plants are generating their own power and adding it to the national grid. If you have space and resources, you can set up a solar power plant and enjoy a long-term source of income.
Clean Energy; Less Carbon Footprint
Even though solar panels are expensive, it is still preferred over some gas, diesel, and coal-based power. This is because solar energy is clean and does not adversely affect the environment. Given this advantage, more countries are shifting from traditional power plants to solar energy.
Less Dependency on Fossil Fuel
Apart from the adverse effects of fossil fuels, the rising prices and dwindling reserves are also concerning. Over the past few decades, fossil fuel prices have multiplied several times, and they are expected to increase immensely in the upcoming years. But with solar power, the one-time cost can help lift off long-term dependency on fossil fuels.
Moreover, some countries do not have any fossil fuels or other electricity sources. They import fuel from the neighboring countries or buy electricity. During international tensions, the trade gets difficult, which further causes a scarcity of energy.
Moreover, most countries still need to meet the rising energy demand fully. This demand and supply gap causes load shedding, affecting domestic and commercial consumers. So, the inability to buy energy or fuel impacts the industry, leading to economic problems. Whereas shifting to solar power lifts off dependency.
Applications of Solar Energy
There are many applications of solar power. I have listed below some of the most prominent applications of solar power.
The most prominent and useful application of solar energy is powering buildings. Whether it be your home, office, school, or hospital, solar energy can power it. Some companies like Tesla and Google are powering some of their facilities with solar power.
Considering solar panels’ benefits and increasing use, some home appliances are now available with DC specifications. They can be powered directly by your hybrid solar inverter. Apparently, some of these products have less power than their AC alternatives.
Solar energy has greatly helped in meeting energy’s demand-supply gap to some extent. In fact, some governments are now subsidizing or reducing taxes on solar panels to encourage their use.
Building Rooftop Covered With Solar Panels
You might already know about electric vehicles, but do you know there are solar-powered electric cars? They run entirely on solar energy and do not require any fuel or charging (unless there it’s a cloudy day). These cars have a limited speed and a simpler look, but they are a big step towards environment-friendly vehicles.
Satellites & UAVs
Some UAVs designed for research purposes need to fly for very long periods. Powering them with fuel means they need to frequently land and take off, which is inconvenient. But solar power has enabled flying these UAVs for very long durations.
Tech giants like Facebook and Google have launched their broadcasting solar-powered drones in the air. Their continuous flight durations are not hours or days but weeks or months. The drone development groups aim to build drones that can last in flight for even longer.
Solar-powered gadgets are one of the most in-demand applications of solar power. Whether it be your cell phone, laptop, lamp, water heater, or even electric oven, it can be powered using solar panels. In fact, solar-powered chargers are already available in the market for most of these products.
Though the basic use of solar panels is generating electricity, the mobility and independence they offer make them special. Solar panels have definitely added great value to life. Even more solar panels will surround us in the upcoming days, and more of our gadgets will be powered using solar energy.