Many people commonly associate solar photovoltaic energy panels as the only solar energy systems around. However, there is another solar energy technology that has been produced and it is called solar thermal energy technology.
Basically, you can call a solar thermal energy system a ‘solar energy collector’. Its function is to gather or collect disparate rays of solar energy from the Sun to be used to heat other systems. So while your photovoltaic system aims to collect solar energy to make it into electricity, a solar thermal energy system is generally useful for heating purposes only though the third type is used to make high-volume electricity supplies.According to the US Energy Information Agency, we can categorize a solar thermal energy system as either a low-temperature solar energy collector, a medium-temperature solar energy collector, or a high-temperature solar energy collector.The low-temperature solar thermal energy system is usually employed to provide heat to swimming pool water.
The medium-temperature solar thermal energy system may be used for heating larger amounts of water for commercial and residential users. And the high-temperature solar thermal energy system could be used for generatinga lot of energy in the form of electric power. The solar energy proponents advocate use of a solar thermal plant when it is necessary to store heat from solar energy to be used later at times when the sun cannot be seen through the clouds, or when it is nighttime.
Solar thermal energy functions on the principle that a certain liquid can house the surplus heat under high energy density conditions. Aside from liquid, there are other substances, such as molten salt, which are believed to have the capacity to absorb heat and contain it too. This is why molten salt is now also being used in solar thermal energy power plants.It should be stressed that you should not expect your investment to pay off big time from the moment your solar thermal energy power system has been established and starts to run.
– Depending on how big your investment was, that your solar thermal energy power plant will start paying for itself anyway
– Simply because solar energy is free and comes in huge quantities throughout the day. The quantities that arrive in a few hours are said to be enough to supply the needs of a huge country like the US for a year with quite a lot left over afterwards. This is where the value of solar thermal energy comes in
– There will be times when you need to stock up on surplus solar energy so that you can use these solar energy stocks in the distant future when solar energy is hard to come by.During those times when solar energy may be difficult to access due to climactic, time and weather conditions, you can always fall back on other renewable energy sources like wind power and geothermal power anyway. The point of using these renewable energies in combination with one another is to relieve the pressure on the fossil fuel production industry and allow our environment to become more balanced due to less harmful emissions being produced.