What is solar energy?

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What Does Solar energy Mean

We explain what solar energy is and how it is produced. Also, what is it for, and what are its advantages and disadvantages.

Solar panels convert solar radiation into usable electrical energy.

What is solar energy?

Solar energy is a renewable form of energy, obtained from the transformation of the electromagnetic radiation from the sun . This energy has been used by life naturally since ancient times, and thanks to contemporary technology it is possible to receive and store it in photovoltaic cells or different types of thermal collectors, to take advantage of it for human purposes.


The sun constantly emits energy into space and much of it impacts the Earth , most of it is rejected by the atmosphere and dispersed into space , but the remaining 30% enters the planet and is absorbed by the oceans and continents . Approximately 1000 W / m 2 of energy enters our world in this way.

Solar radiation can then be converted into heat or electrical energy , with which to feed homes, industries and all kinds of mechanisms; It is a constant source (as the sun always emits), cheap, non- polluting and safe of energy.

See also: Nuclear energy

Types of solar energy

The tools for harnessing solar energy can be passive or active, depending on their behavior:

  • Active. Those that collect and store energy using photovoltaic devices and thermal concentration technologies .
  • Passive. The provisions that have to do with bioclimatic architecture, that is, the orientation of buildings to receive more natural light , to prevent the dispersion of heat added by the Sun, etc.

How is solar energy produced?

Photovoltaic cells are panels installed on roofs, rooftops or large areas.

Solar energy is a consequence, in the first place, of the atomic reactions that are constantly occurring inside the Sun , where there are large numbers of atoms merging and fissioning in a large natural nuclear reaction. This generates enormous amounts of heat and energy that are radiated to space and the planets.

This radiation reaches, as we have said, the surface of our planet, after having been filtered by the atmosphere. It is then received by two types of instruments:

  • Photovoltaic cells. These are solar panels installed on roofs, rooftops or large areas of free land, made up of lots of silicon solar cells capable of converting solar radiation into usable electrical energy .
  • Thermal collectors. These systems collect heat energy from solar radiation and allow its redistribution for practical purposes, such as heating, heaters and even electricity generation, since this heat can be used to boil water and move turbines.

What is solar energy for?

Solar energy holds many practical possibilities in today's world. The autonomy capacity that photovoltaic installations provide to farms and settlements away from the power lines can be key to a better quality of life , since it translates into consumable electricity for different tasks and heat for different types of heaters .

On the other hand, more and more countries are investing in this type of technology, which takes advantage of a constant natural resource to reduce the dependence of developed countries on fossil fuels , such as oil or coal, in obtaining energy. In fact, solar panels regularly operate on satellites and space modules that humanity has sent into space, which is an example of the potential of this energy in the world to come.

Solar energy has, like everything, its positive and negative aspects.

Advantages of solar energy

  • Ecology . Solar energy does not pollute, nor does it require complicatedraw material extraction processes that harm the environment . In fact, it is compatible with urban life .
  • Savings . It is a cheap energy model, since the Sun radiates free to everyone and does not require the purchase of raw materials , only technological investment and maintenance.
  • Security . Solar energy does not have the risks to the health of atomic energy or fossil, and is also a fully renewable model (as longthe sun,course).

Disadvantages of solar energy

Large areas of land are required to obtain high energy yields.
  • Irregular. The production of this energy, since it depends on the amount of solar radiation perceived, fluctuates according to the weather , the seasons and other climatic phenomena that can hinder the work and minimize the energy flow.
  • Initial cost. Although obtaining the energy is very inexpensive, the installation costs of a solar plant are still quite high, given the amount of technology required.
  • Site. Large areas of land are required to obtain high solar energy yields, and that in many cases is difficult to achieve. Desert areas tend to receive a lot of sun and have large plains available, but at the same time they are far removed from any human settlement.
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