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Solar Energy Can Be Used for Heat and Electricity

When converted to thermal (or heat) energy, solar energy can be used to:

  • Heat water — for use in homes, buildings, or swimming pools
  • Heat spaces — inside homes, greenhouses, and other buildings

Solar energy can be converted to electricity in two ways:

  • Photovoltaic (PV devices) or “solar cells” change sunlight directly into electricity. Individual PV cells are grouped into panels and arrays of panels that can be used in a wide range of applications ranging from single small cells that charge calculator and watch batteries, to systems that power single homes, to large power plants covering many acres.
  • Concentrating Solar Power Plants generate electricity by using the heat from solar thermal collectors to heat a fluid which produces steam that is used to power the generator.
 
 
 
 
Last Updated: 4/1/2011 1:00 PM 
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