Solar panels are a great way to generate electricity from the sun's energy. They can be used for a variety of applications, from powering remote cabins and telecommunications equipment to residential and commercial solar power systems. China leads the way in terms of installed photovoltaics, with the United States and Japan in second and third place respectively. Solar radiation is abundant all over the world, but some places are more suitable for photovoltaic solar panels than others.
For example, it makes more sense to use the sun's energy in places where the sun shines all year round, such as in deserts. Countries with the most sunlight, such as Australia and India, have the potential to add solar technologies within their utility energy mix. Government and state incentives play an important role in making solar energy affordable. To succeed, governments must support the energy industry's shift to renewables.
A good example of this is the state of New Jersey, which is not the sunniest state in the US but has been encouraging the growth of renewables for years. China has become the largest solar market in the world and it is estimated that by 2024, China will have 370 GW of installed solar energy, twice as much as the US. While this growth is impressive and admirable, China will need to continue to ease its dependence on coal-fired power generation to be seen as a true leader in renewable energy. Europe has been encouraging the growth of renewables for years and plans to boost renewables to improve its post-COVID-19 economic recovery.
In addition to the federal solar tax credit, individual states offer local incentives to install residential solar systems. They are also beginning to adopt solar energy for its low-cost energy production and job creation, and are starting to incorporate solar power plants into their energy mix. California remains at the forefront of the growth of solar photovoltaic systems in the US, but now other states are catching up too. Solar technologies convert sunlight into electrical energy, either through photovoltaic (PV) panels or through mirrors that concentrate solar radiation.
This energy can be used to generate electricity or be stored in batteries or thermal storage. Virtually any device that runs on a battery can be charged with solar energy through some type of photoelectric panel system. The nature of photoelectric solar panels is to generate direct current, which is the same way that is used in most batteries. Many basic and inexpensive solar panel kits have connections that allow you to connect cell phones, pad devices, and laptops for direct charging.
And by adding a simple inverter that converts DC current to 120 volt AC current, you can also connect chargers for other batteries. Some homeowners may choose to completely disconnect from the grid with a solar power and battery system or a solar power system and generator. Different types of solar panels perform differently due to their different conversion efficiency of their solar cells. Solar space heating systems can be used to power radiant floors or pair with a forced warm air (FHA) system to heat a home.
Passive solar housing design can also heat homes and businesses in winter, taking into account the location of windows and the selection of materials used in the building. The amount of sunlight that hits the Earth's surface in an hour and a half is enough to manage the energy consumption of the entire world for an entire year. Solar water heating systems are considerably cheaper than active systems but tend to be less efficient. A drawback of some hot water heating systems is that they require a pump to circulate water from the solar collector to the holding tank. On a much larger scale, a large bank of solar panels can charge a full bank of storage batteries that can power almost any 120 volt AC device to service your entire home. Solar energy can help reduce electricity costs, contribute to a resilient power grid, create jobs and drive economic growth, generate backup power for nighttime and outages when combined with storage, and operate with similar efficiency on both small and large scale.