The earth’s energy demands for an entire year could be met by the amount of sunlight reaching the surface of the earth every hour.
Solar energy can be converted indirectly (thermal solar) into heat through thermal collectors, reducing, or possibly eliminating, the need for water heaters.
Solar thermal energy is created by absorbing the heat of the sun with collecting devices such as flat-plate solar-energy collectors. Air or a heat collecting fluid passes through tubes within the collecting devices where it is warmed and then distributed to the appropriate heating system. Solar thermal power plants take the heated fluid process one step forward through the use of a heat transfer system to produce steam. The steam can then be converted into mechanical energy in a turbine, and into electricity from a conventional generator coupled to the turbine.
This technology is best for applications with a high load factor or consistent heat use year round and the ability to have collector panels installed in close proximity to the energy using location.
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