Solar Applications Guide

The soaring interest in solar power is not only evident on roofs, but also through innovative ideas to power up almost every part of our lives. Here are few solar applications that are creating some buzz around and are creating some hope for a better future. Some are a bit of a novelty, but perhaps this won’t be so in the near future.

Details about few Solar Applications

  1. Solar Lighting

    Also known as daylighting, this is the use of natural light to provide illumination to offset energy use in electric lighting systems and reduce the cooling load on HVAC systems. Daylighting features include building orientation, window orientation, exterior shading, saw tooth roofs, clerestory windows, light shelves, skylights, and light tubes. Architectural trends increasingly recognize daylighting as a cornerstone of sustainable design.

  2. Solar Heating Systems

    Solar hot water systems use sunlight to heat water. The systems are composed of solar thermal collectors and a storage tank, and they may be active, passive or batch systems.

  3. Photovoltaics

    Photovoltaic or PV technology employs solar cells or solar photovoltaic arrays to convert energy from the sun into electricity. Solar cells produce direct current electricity from the sun’s rays, which can be used to power equipment or to recharge batteries. Many pocket calculators incorporate a single solar cell, but for larger applications, cells are generally grouped together to form PV modules that are in turn arranged in solar arrays. Solar arrays can be used to power orbiting satellites and other spacecraft, and in remote areas as a source of power for roadside emergency telephones, remote sensing, and cathodic protection of pipelines.

  4. Solar Street Lights and Traffic Lights

    Solar Street Light

    Solar street lights are raised light sources which are powered by photovoltaic panels generally mounted on the lighting structure or integrated in the pole itself. The photovoltaic panels charge a rechargeable battery, which powers a fluorescent or LED lamp during the night. Most solar panels turn on and turn off automatically by sensing outdoor light using a light source.Solar streetlights are designed to work throughout the night. Latest designs use wireless technology and fuzzy control theory for battery management. The street lights using this technology can operate as a network with each light having the capability of performing on or off the network.

    Solar traffic lights are signalling devices powered by solar panels positioned at road intersections, pedestrian crossings and other locations to control the flows of traffic. Most of the solar traffic lights have battery back-up for functioning during night. These solar traffic lights use LED lamps as they are more reliable and have more advantages over other lighting devices. Existing traffic lights can also be upgraded with an auxiliary power source using solar panels for use during power failures. They are easy to set up and operate. Also, they require very little to no maintenance as they have no moving parts.

  5. Solar Thermal Electric Power Plants

    Solar thermal energy involves harnessing solar power for practical applications from solar heating to electrical power generation. Solar thermal collectors, such as solar hot water panels, are commonly used to generate solar hot water for domestic and light industrial applications. This energy system is also used in architecture and building design to control heating and ventilation in both active solar and passive solar designs.

  6. Solar-powered Radios

    Solar_radioA solar powered radio is a portable radio receiver powered by photovoltaic panels. It is primarily used in remote areas where access to power sources is limited. Solar powered radios eliminate the need to replace batteries, which makes operating them cost much less.


  7. Solar backpacks

    solarbackpackA Solar backpack is a cloth sack carried on one’s back and secured with two straps that go over the shoulders, equipped with thin film solar cells and batteries. The solar panels convert sunlight into electricity, which is stored in the batteries and can be used to power portable electronic appliances like mobile phones and mp3 players.

    The solar backpack usually contains a flexible monocrystalline solar panel, battery, charge controller, plugs, cords and light bulbs. It provides users with power up to 120 watt-hours/day, capable of powering electronic equipment rated up to 300 W. It can also be utilized in international aid, disaster relief, emergency power and field research.


  8. Solar Powered Vehicles

    A solar vehicle is an electric vehicle powered completely or significantly by direct solar energy. Usually, photovoltaic (PV) cells contained in solar panels convert the sun’s energy directly into electric energy. The term “solar vehicle” usually implies that solar energy is used to power all or part of a vehicle’s propulsion. Solar power may be also used to provide power for communications or controls or other auxiliary functions.

    Solar vehicles are not sold as practical day-to-day transportation devices at present, but are primarily demonstration vehicles and engineering exercises, often sponsored by government agencies. However, indirectly solar-charged vehicles are widespread and solar boats are available commercially.

    Solar buses, Solar boats, Manned solar aircraft, Single-track vehicles, Solar-powered Space-crafts are all in the design phase. Once approved & accepted for public usage they will be a major reason for change in the environment protection.

  9. Solar Cars

    A solar car is an electric vehicle powered by energy obtained from solar panels on the surface of the car which convert the sun’s energy directly into electrical energy. Solar cars are not currently a practical form of transportation. Although they can operate for limited distances without sun, the solar cells are generally very fragile. Development teams have focused their efforts on optimizing the efficiency of the vehicle

  10. Solar Golf Carts

    Solar golf carts are golf carts powered by mounting a photovoltaic (PV) or thin film panel on top of the existing roof or using a PV panel as the roof itself. A controller converts the sun’s energy to charge the golf cart’s 36-volt or 48-volt battery bank. Not only does the solar power take the cart off the electric grid, it also increases the driving distance and extends the life of the batteries.

    These same kind of carts are used in Railway Stations and other places to assist disabled and aged people to move from one end to another.

  11. Solar Updraft Tower

    A solar updraft tower is a proposed type of renewable-energy power plant. Air is heated in a very large circular greenhouse-like structure, and the resulting convection causes the air to rise and escape through a tall tower. The moving air drives turbines, which produce electricity. There are no solar updraft towers in operation at present. A research prototype operated in Spain in the 1980s, and EnviroMission is proposing to construct a full-scale power station using this technology in Australia.

  12. Solar Tree

    220px-Solar_TreeSolar trees are intended to bring visibility to solar technology and to enhance the landscape and architecture they complement, usually in a commercial or public context. An objective of many solar tree installations is to promote awareness, understanding, and adoption of renewable energy. They are not typically used as a primary source of energy for a property—that role is accomplished by rooftop solar systems. Solar trees are complementary to rooftop solar systems, or other green building measures, symbolizing these larger investments and their environmental benefit. People will try to make solar trees more reliable and will try to make them gain more energy.

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