Solar energy is derived from the sun through the form of solar radiation. Solar powered electrical generation relies on photovoltaics and heat engines.
A partial list of other solar applications includes space heating and cooling through solar architecture, day lighting, solar hot water, solar cooking, and high temperature process heat for industrial purposes.
Photovoltaics are best known as a method for generating electric power by using solar cells to convert energy from the sun into electricity. The photovoltaic process involves the movement and displacement of electrons to absorb the sun's radiation and create electricity. Today the majority of photovoltaic modules are used for grid connected power generation. In this case an inverter is required to convert the Direct Current (DC) to Alternating Current (AC).
A type of concentrating solar collector that uses U-shaped troughs to concentrate sunlight onto a receiver pipe, containing a functioning fluid which is positioned along the focal line of the trough. Sometimes a transparent glass tube covers the outside of the receiver tube to reduce heat loss. Parabolic troughs often use single-axis or dual-axis tracking. Temperatures at the receiver can reach 550°C. The heated working fluid is used to operate a steam turbine for power or electricity generation
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