8 Applications for Solar Energy

8 Applications for Solar Energy -

Those who scoff at solar energy should reconsider their position. Solar already powers approximately 4.5% of our world .

It’s hard to argue against solar energy since it’s effectively free energy from the most abundant resource in the universe. The solar installation can occasionally be expensive, sure, but the end result is well worth it. Beyond just powering our homes and businesses, though, what other ways can we use solar power?

The limits of solar power depend on you. But today, let’s take a look at eight specific applications of solar energy.

1. Solar Energy for Off-Grid Applications

If you’ve been scrolling through TikTok, you’ve likely heard the phrase “living off the grid” or “homesteading.” This refers to the growing popularity of self-sufficiency. That is, people provide for their own needs while living in the great outdoors.

It’s a romantic idea, one that aligns mankind with the nature we came from. But it does come with a huge loss of luxury and convenience. In particular, getting energy for basic things like lights.

Scaling up solar for your outdoor requirements is the natural choice. Provided you have a clear space and relatively good weather, you can generate all the electricity you need with solar. If you install a battery array, then you can save up for when the weather isn’t great.

2. Remote Applications

In the desert near the border with Mexico, you will find a bunch of SOS beacons. The government put these in place for illegal immigrants. Despite the fact that what they do is illegal, it is still dangerous and life-threatening.

To prevent immigrants from dying of dehydration, they can head to these SOS beacons. There, they will find fresh drinking water to help them survive in the desert. Some of these beacons also allow them to contact emergency services.

To light up these beacons and enable their emergency broadcast potential, they require solar power. This is an excellent example of how remote devices off the grid can be self-sufficient.

3. Floating Solar Farms

While solar panels are wonderful, they can result in a negative ecological impact. There’s no greater example of this than some of the solar fields in the American Southwest. They encompass hundreds of acres, producing gigawatts of electricity for nearby towns.

They seem wonderful at first until you ask any ecologists about the damage they do. They cause issues for local animal populations during construction. They interrupt natural migration corridors, especially for birds who confuse them for water. 

To avoid this negative impact and the use of precious land, we can instead put solar panels on water. There is abundant space for solar panels in the ocean with a reduced ecological impact. 

4. Solar Charging Stations

Smartphones and other devices are now a key component of modern civilization. People need to charge up their devices wherever they go. The current state of charging stations is pretty abysmal outside of airports and the occasional coffee shop.

To solve this, governments could install solar-powered charging stations at places like bus stops. These charging stations supply their own power and require minimal maintenance.

5. Water Heating

Don’t forget, solar energy isn’t just the photovoltaic kind that generates electricity. There are various types of solar that use the sun’s energy in different ways. One such method is using the sun to heat and boil water.

Usually, this functions to generate energy with steam and a turbine. However, this could also serve to heat water for domestic uses. For example, heating water for a shower or washing dishes, among other things.

6. Solar Cooking

Photovoltaic excels can obviously supply an electric cooking range. If you don’t have one of them, though, you can still use it to cook things.

Using the same principles for heating water with solar energy, you could also cook food. Solar ovens have been a concept for a very long time. Many Boy Scouts learn how to make one during camping trips.

The concept is very simple: have a reflective surface, such as a mirror, that redirects sunlight into an enclosure. Anything inside the enclosure gets cooked by the heat. You can easily fry eggs, bake chicken, or cook just about anything you can imagine. 

7. Water Treatment Systems

Our societies need far more water than we are currently able to produce. Many different locations across the globe are in a perpetual drought. Just ask a desert state like Arizona, which has to pump in a great deal of water from outside sources.

There are solutions to purifying things like ocean water, but they are expensive. Reverse osmosis and distillation are the two most common methods. The problem is that they require a lot of energy and maintenance, which drives up the cost. 

To cut down on those energy requirements, reverse osmosis stations could use solar power. This would mitigate their impact on the grid and allow for continual clean energy generation. 

This would also, again, help with remote solutions. Many islands in the ocean rely on reverse osmosis to produce their drinkable water. Rather than having to build expensive power plants, they could instead have self-sustaining reverse osmosis plants.

8. Heated Swimming Pools

Swimming pools are great, but they require a lot to keep them running. They have to constantly filter and clean the water. They require careful chlorine dispensation and cost an arm and a leg to heat.

This results in pools being quite wasteful, especially with all the water they use. Granted, no one wants to get rid of swimming pools, even for the impact of climate change. However, there are definitely ways that we can make them more efficient and less wasteful.

One way to do this would be to use solar power to heat or treat the water. A small solar panel overhang could easily supply its filters, heating system, and even underwater lights. 

Get Solar Energy Today

The switch to solar is key to reducing the world’s carbon footprint. The above are just a few examples of potential solar energy applications we can use today. As solar panels get cheaper and more efficient, these niche applications will reap even more benefits.

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