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Uses of Solar Energy – Applications,Future Uses,Countries and Why We should Use Solar Power

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Solar energy usage Solar Energyis an excellent, eco-friendly and cost-effective way to “Go Green”. It is a very effective measure to save energy & money. We use the solar energy every day in many different ways.Solar Energy is indirectly responsible for other forms of Energy that we use as well like Coal,Oil,Gas,Hydro Energy etc.The biggest use of Solar Energy is in Agriculture where Sun Light is used by plants to grow and provide food for us.Solar  Energy despite many years of development is not used in the generation of Electricity due to its higher costs.However that is going to change as Solar Energy is the only form of Energy whose costs are continuously declining compared to other forms of Energy.This is one of the biggest advantages of Solar Power over other renewable and non-renewable forms of energy.Solar Energy forms just 0.1% of the the total energy supply of the planet currently and analysts and decision makers don’t think that Solar Energy can form a big chunk in the future as well.However I differ strongly in that aspect.The main reason for my very bullish opinion on Solar Energy is based on the simple fact that Solar Energy is the only form of Energy whose costs are declining rapidly on a secular basis.In a world facing the  prospects of “peak commodity”,solar energy remains vastly abundant and it remains upto human technology to capture it at the lowest costs

Major Uses and Applications of Solar Energy

  • SUNLIGHT – Solar Energy is the largest source of light in the universe.We take Light for granted but for most of human history,Light from the Sun has been essential for its growth and development.Its only in the last hundred or so years that we have managed to illuminate the Light.
  • AGRICULTURE – Solar Energy supports the life giving process of Photosynthesis, wherein the sunlight is synthesised by plants into chemical energy & in this process, oxygen is released which is the chief resource of life on earth. Solar Energy can very rightly be compared to the backbone that supports the human body, since it supports life on earth. Animals eat plants for food. When these plants & animals decayed for hundreds & millions of years, coal, oil and natural gas was formed that we use today.
  • ECOLOGICAL BALANCE – The sunlight when it falls on the land’s surface & oceans, it’s radiation is absorbed. The warm air then rises to the higher levels of the atmosphere, where temperature is low, causing the vapours to condense. This causes rainfall.
  • LIGHTING – Use of solar lighting is a foot forward to a cleaner environment since it is less polluting.Residential, commercial and institutional customers can all benefit from solar lighting. Solar lights can be used anywhere ranging from homes, gardens, industries to parking lots, private roads, campuses, walkways, pathways. Other than the benefits of lighting that it provides, solar lights are very efficient in cutting electricity bills, involve no operating costs and are easy to instal.
  •  HEATING – Solar thermal technology is used to heat water for applications such as pool heating and water heating for homes and businesses. Solar water heating systems use solar panels often called collectors that fits on the roof, collects heat from the sun & then heats water which is stored in a hot water cylinder. The benefits of solar water heating will be hot water throughout the year & that too at costs much cheaper than the electric geysers.
  • COOKING – A solar cooker is a low- tech, relatively cheap device that uses the energy of sunlight to heat food or drink to cook it or sterilise it. They help reduce fuel costs & air pollution, since they use no fuel and cost nothing to operate. It is useful for outdoor cooking and is often used in situations where minimal fuel consumption is important, or the danger of accidental fires is high. There are three types of solar cookers/ solar ovens – box cookers, panel cookers and reflector cookers.
  • ELECTRICITY – A solar cell is an electrical device that converts light energy from the sun, directly into electricity by the photovoltaic effect. Many such solar cells group together to form a solar panel, which in turn are arranged into solar arrays. These devices capture the sunlight & convert them into usable electricity. The solar electricity has many advantages. First of all, it definitely helps in cutting down electricity bills. It is a greener & cleaner approach towards the environment by reducing carbon dioxide emissions & other pollutants. By using solar power, your house becomes more energy efficient & for corporates, it qualifies for “Certified Green Business”.
  • TRANSPORT – Nowadays a  number of cars and ships are being powered by solar energy.Though most of these vehicles are pilot in nature and not mass produced,its only a matter of time as solar products get cheaper that they are adoped on a mass scale.

Future Uses of Solar Energy

  1. Space Travel– Satellites and space Vehicles already use arrays of Solar Energy to power themselves as there are no other renewable forms of energy that can work in the vacuum of space.High Efficiency Multijunction Solar Cells are used by spacecraft to power themselves.In the future as humans increase their activities in space,expect Space Ships to be driven by Solar Power
  2. Clothing -Prototypes are being developed that will have clothes embedded with Solar Cells that can charge themselves with Solar Energy and provide power to the devices that we use such as cellphones and even make our clothes smarter changing colors etc.
  3. Architecture Whole building and windows will be built of solar products that can extract energy from the sun rays.They will be integrated into the walls and windows .Already BIPV products have been developed where the aesthetics are also taken care of .There are Solar Shingles which can be used to make Solar Roofs of Houses and Solar Carports are already available.

Countries and Places that use Solar Energy

While all countries and places use Solar Energy to some extent there are some countries which  have been more progressive in the use of Solar Energy

1) Germany is the country with the most amount of power being generated from Solar Energy.During peak hours Germany generates almost 20 GW of power from the Sun .The country has a target of powering itself completely from Renewable Energy and Solar Energy plays an important part

2) Italy – Like Germany,Italy too has seen a big boom in solar energy generation thanks to government subsidies in the form of Feed in Tariff.

3) Spain – Like the other European countries Spain too generates a lot of its electricity from the Sun.The country recives a lot of sulight making it an ideal place for solar electricity generation

4) Japan – The country was one of the pioneers in the generation of solar energy but in recent times has got stuck.But after the Fukushima nuclear disaster,the country is making solar energy the center of attention once again

Some of the smaller European countries like Czech,Belgium too are generating lots of solar energy through proactive Green policies.The bigger countries in the world like USA,China and India are slowly realizing the potential of Solar Energy and are rapidly increasing the amount of Solar Energy products.These countries in the future will become the largest users of Solar Energy as costs start to go down.

Why We Should use Solar Energy

  1. Environment Friendly – Solar Energy does not lead to any major mining activity,does not lead to significant GHG emissions,does not lead to health hazards like thermal power
  2. No Fuel and Low Maintainance – Solar Energy does not require any fuel like Wind Energy and the Operation and Maintainance Costs are extremely low.This is a huge advantage in these days when gas and oil disruptions are causing energy insecurity.Libya,Russia are all examples
  3. No Pollution and Deaths- Solar Energy does not lead to pollution disasters like the BP Oil Spill and Coal Deaths which are directly related to Dirty Energy Production.
  4. Size Advantages – Solar Installations can be installed in various sizes with as little as 200 Watts and as big as a 1000 MW.This is not possible for other energy forms which require a minimum large size such as Coal,Nuclear etc.

We should use Solar Energy as much as possible to Save our Plant from the effect of Global Warming and reduce Pollution and Deaths.The governments have not been wise enough to push the cause of Solar Energy or even for that matter Renewable Energy.Read about the  Pros and Cons of Renewable Energy forms here to contract them with Solar Energy.


Sneha Shah

I am Sneha, the Editor-in-chief for the Blog. We would be glad to receive suggestions, inputs & comments on GWI from you guys to keep it going! You can contact me for consultancy/trade inquires by writing an email to

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