The solar radiation can be converted into heat (e.g. process heat ) or into electrical energy . The primary energy source "sun" can be used free of charge. There are only costs for the installation and maintenance of the systems. With the constant technical progress, solar technology is becoming more and more effective nowadays, both in terms of its properties and costs, so that it is used in more and more areas and can compete with the technologies previously used. It also benefits from the rising costs of non-regenerative energy sources.
Decentralized use of solar energy
- Photovoltaics : conversion of the sun's radiation energy ( solar energy ) into electrical energy ( solar power ) with solar cells
- Solar thermal : Conversion of the sun's radiant energy (solar energy) by heating water or other heat carriers ( solar collectors )
- Solar architecture : targeted structural use of solar energy to increase the energy efficiency of buildings ( winter gardens , passive houses , carports)
- Greenhouses , cold frames , polytunnels : reinforcement of solar heat in the nursery
- Solar cooker : Cooking with sunlight
- Solar Stirling : Conversion of solar thermal energy into mechanical energy using the Stirling engine . Solar Stirling systems that operate a generator to produce electricity achieve up to 30% better efficiency than photovoltaic systems .
Large-scale use of solar energy
- Solar thermal power plants
- Large-scale solar thermal systems for district heating, process heat generation and cooling
- Thermal power plants (prototype only)
- Free-standing photovoltaic systems or those installed on factory roofs