Solar energy is radiant light and heat from the sun harnessed using a range of technologies such as solar heating, photovoltaics, solar thermal energy, solar architecture and artificial photosynthesis.
Its technologies are broadly characterised as either passive solar or active solar depending on the way they capture and distribute solar energy or convert it into solar power.
Active solar techniques include the use of photovoltaic systems, concentrated solar power and solar water heating. Passive solar techniques include orientating a building to the sun, selecting materials with favourable thermal mass or light dispersing properties, and designing spaces that naturally circulate air.
This is a 10-watt monocrystalline solar panel. This solar panel would typically be used for small power consumption projects such as powering electric fences, garden fountains, off-grid lighting, for battery maintenance and for use in caravans and boats.
A solar panel refers to either a solar hot water panel, a common type of solar thermal collector, or as in this case to one or more solar photovoltaics (PV) modules, electrically connected and mounted on a supporting structure.
Photovoltaics is the name of a method of converting solar energy into direct current electricity using semiconducting materials that exhibit the photovoltaic effect.