As the search for clean, sustainable energy continues and as cost of fuel persists to rise, more and more people are turning to solar energy as alternative power source. This is aided by the growing number of researches and development that has become easily accessible to the public in recent years. As people begin understanding more and more the advantages of solar energy and as more and more hardware is produced, solar powered utilities are now becoming standard substitutes to power gadgets, appliances, car accessories, even homes and offices.
Solar energy is basically a product of harnessing heat from the sun and converting it into electricity to run objects that require power. Thermal energy is basically used for heating. In the households, they were traditionally used in water tanks, dispensers, pools and bathroom. Passive solar energy, on the other hand, are harnessed through designs that are built to absorb the sun’s heat or deflect them. It is usually used in the design of home roofings in order to regulate heat into the house during hot seasons or rivet it during cold periods. Meanwhile, concentrated solar power can be used in large scale projects that can capture sunlight to generate thermal energy and use it as electric power.
The most common form of solar energy technology used today is the photovoltaic (PV) solar panels. These solar panels are now commonly attached to small appliances or outdoor gadgets like flashlights and watches, and other machines which require small amounts of electricity. However, larger panels are now becoming common in homes where solar energy is main source of secondary or emergency electric power. Larger scale PV panels are even currently being constructed to power entire districts or areas.
The technology has now evolved even further. Bulky and unsightly PV panels of the past are now being replaced by solar skin films that can be attached to home windows and are fast becoming common in Singapore, Japan, Singapore and other Asian countries. These solar film for home windows help reduce electricity cost and are now readily available and becoming more and more cost-competitive. These solar films are lightweight and easy to install vinyl that do not require special tool or even skills which makes them all the more attractive to the average consumer. In the U.S., recently developed solar skin technology which allows the customization of solar panels and skins to suit home designs is expected to even boost the popularity of window solar films.
The same solar films technology is also finding its way into the textile industry as tiny solar panels are now being stitched into fabric and clothing. This technology has already found use in home products like curtains and in automobile accessories such as heated car seats. In terms of public utility, the recent use of solar panels to light up Route 66, America’s historic interstate, using LED bulbs showcased the large scale use of solar technology and its wider applications. With these developments it is not hard to see how far solar technology has gone and by all indications, a legitimate and efficient source of clean, renewable energy seemed to have arrived.