Solar energy.

Essay by nini4732A+, November 2003

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Today one of the most popular and well known alternative forms of energy is solar power. There are two types of solar energy, Passive Solar - which uses natural processes without mechanical equipment, and additional electrical or gas energy to operate, and Active Solar - which uses nature's resources with the inclusion of mechanical equipment and hardware driven by electricity and gas.

Solar energy has many advantages. It is an easy, quiet, reliable source of energy. Solar energy was first used it was used in satellites, and has since grown to prove that it can be used for many other things. "Nowadays the use of solar electricity is widespread. In remote areas where there is no connection to the electricity grid this form of solar energy is used to meet electricity demand of households and to power water pumps and vaccine refrigerators. These systems often use batteries to store electricity.

But also calculators, telecommunication systems or buoys at sea are operating with solar electricity." This goes to show that we have come a long way, and can continue to use solar energy to help benefit our ecosystems.

Many new buildings are also benefiting from solar energy by using passive solar heating. Buildings that use passive solar heating have large south facing windows that direct sunlight in the building where it is absorbed and stored during the day, then slowly released at night when the heat is need most. This is also known as direct gain.

Other ways of solar heating are through sunspaces and trombe walls. Sunspaces are made of glass, and look similar to a greenhouse. They are built on the Southern side of the building and are warmed by sun passing through the glass and then circulated through the building. Trombe walls are made of materials that...