Solar energy is the earliest source of energy known to mankind, and is also the origin of other forms of energy used by man.
Other renewable sources of energy, such as, wind energy, hydro power, biomass and ocean energy are the indirect forms of solar energy. Solar energy has many salient features, which make it an attractive proposition. These features are wide-spread distribution, environment friendly and virtually inexhaustible supply.
The solar energy can also be converted into electrical energy in the solar homes by the use of specially designed Photovoltaic cells. They are also known as PV cells or solar cells. They are basically made up of silicon and a few other elements are added to give a more efficient combination. These days semiconductors are used in the Photovoltaic cells. The Photovoltaic cells convert the incident solar energy into electrical energy. They are assembled on the roofs of solar homes to obtain maximum incidence of solar energy and thus more electrical output. This electrical energy is stored in special storage batteries that can be used for an assortment of purposes. They can be used to heat as well as work cooling devices like fans and air conditioners. Thus during summers when cooling is essential PV cells play a major role. This electricity can be used for refrigeration as well as lighting. They also give rise to less consumption of electricity from conventional sources. Thus the solar energy finds a role in replacing the traditional sources of energy in every field of work not only in a household but in other aspects of life also.
Farming and agriculture are other areas where solar energy plays a major role. India has one of the largest solar energy programs in the world. The Indian government has dedicated a ministry for renewable energy and extensive work goes on in this field. Prominent Indian industrialists like Tata and Birla are involved in this project. Though it is still at its nascent stage these programs have the potential to become a roaring success as this will save a lot of money for the consumers.
The beauty of solar energy is that it is pollution free, easily and freely available in nature and this is one source which will never dry up. In other words solar energy is called green energy because it has the power to reduce global warming by not cutting down trees and forests for wood. Easy to use, no noise or fumes and available in plenty this is the ideal energy to switch to in countries where there is sunshine through out the year.
Besides agriculture industry is another sector where power is extensively used. Erecting power plants causes pollution and a lot of industrial waste is generated from it. Oil and fuel is also wasted in these power plants. Dams are built across rivers so that hydro power is generated. Though this may give rise to employment, the nearby villages are to be evacuated and their agricultural land is required for building dams. Due to this, people start protesting and the projects are stopped halfway. Here the use of solar energy will be ideal as there will not be any disturbance to nature as well as the people. Power is available in plenty and people can carry on with their lives without being disturbed. All this goes to prove that solar energy is green energy as the color green is associated with growth and abundance.