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Solar Power

There are a few different ways of collecting solar power. Sunlight can be turned into electricity through the use of photovoltaic cells. This is popular because solar panels can be installed onto roofs, or anywhere that it is sunny. They are well suited for cities and urban environments where space is limited, and can also be set up in vast fields to create solar farms.

Solar power is not always converted to electricity though. A passive solar collector is often used to heat up water for bathing and swimming pools. Sunlight can be converted very easily into heat, and that heat can be converted to electricity. Some solar collectors rely on fields of angled mirrors with a tower in the center. These mirrors direct sunlight onto the top of the tower which contains a large mass of salt. When the salt becomes molten (4500 degrees F) it can be used to heat water and drive a steam turbine.

Solar power is incredibly abundant, it is just difficult to harness. Everywhere the sun shines could potentially be generating power. Installing every roof in California would create enough power for the entire world. With recent developments lowering cost and improving efficiency solar power is sure to be a major player in the energy markets of the future if not today.


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