Solar System Types
The Sun is our oldest and most basic source of energy. It is abundant, ever-present, and delivered free-to-you everyday. Solar energy holds great promise for our modern energy needs because it circumvents many of the problems surrounding our current, mostly fossil fuel based, energy systems.
There are two basic solar energy types that can be utilized on a home or business, solar electric and solar thermal:
Solar Electricity, or Photovoltaic (PV) systems, are what most people think of when they think Solar Power. These are high tech devices that convert the photons, or radiant energy, from the the sun into an electric current.
Solar Thermal is a more direct and efficient way of using Solar Energy. These systems convert solar energy directly into usable heat.
There are two main types of Solar Thermal systems:
Solar Air Heat heats up the air with solar energy, providing space heat for your home, business, or industrial space in the winter.
Solar Water Heat heats up water for your home or business hot water needs.
Along with energy conservation and efficiency measures, all renewable energy technologies play important roles in helping us meet our modern energy needs. The chart below can shed some light on how common residential solar systems compare to one another and to modern coal powered plants, currently our #1 source of electricity.