What is Solar Technology?
Solar energy is best defined as brilliant light and natural heat from the sun. When harnessed by such
technologies as solar heating, solar photovoltaics, solar thermal electricity, artificial photosynthesis and
solar architecture it can then be used as energy derived from the sun.
It may all sound a little scientific and hard to understand but really solar energy is fun to learn
about. Don’t let the terms scare you off. It really is easy to understand– and teach about solar energy
technologies. For instance,let’s take a look at photovoltaic technology. This is a natural, clean and free
method used to collect electrical power from the sun’s rays. This is accomplished by solar cells. Solar
power equals a limitless supply of electricity. This is not only a great way to lower your electricity bill
but by using solar energy you can reduce your dependency on utility companies.
Solar energy technologies can be used to capture and use the sun’s energy and light as a power source
to provide heat, light, hot water, electricity and cooling. This energy is used in homes, businesses and
Depending on the way the solar energy is captured, converted and distributed it may be passive or
Fast Facts About Solar Technology
Solar technology is used to heat water. Solar hot water heating uses sunlight. Did you know that Israel
and Cyprus are the leaders (per capita figures) in the use of hot water systems? In the United States,
Australia and Canada the predominant use for solar hot water heating is for heating of swimming pools.
Solar Thermal mass, materials used to store heat from the sun, include common materials such as
water, stone and cement. These are used sometimes to offset some of the energy used by heating,
ventilation and air conditioning systems.
Solar technologies such as distillation and water disinfection can be used to treat water. For instance,
Solar water disinfection happens when plastic bottles are exposed to direct sunlight for several
hours. The World Health Organization recommends this as a great way to treat and store household
and drinking water.
One fun solar technology you might want to try with your child right away involves solar cookers.
This is the method of using sunlight to cook, dry and pasteurize food. The basic box cooker was first
introduced by Horace de Saussure in 1767. This is an insulated container that has a transparent top. It
can even be used when the skies are overcast and it will normally reach temperatures ranging between