Solar energy is basically the energy that comes from that big ball of fire that warms the planet – the sun. It is the heat that one feels whenever the rays of the sun reach the earth. It is the energy that warms the body and also needed by plants to grow. It gives light to earth and serves every living creature in a lot of ways.
Not every bit of solar energy that is radiated by the sun is absorbed upon reaching earth. Half of it is usually reflected back into space. Half is distributed among the living and non-living things on earth. Land, as well as the seas and oceans absorb solar energy. It is also important in creating currents, just like in the Gulf Stream. Humans absorb solar energy in the presence of heat felt during daytime. Plants absorb solar energy, which is essential to their food manufacturing process called photosynthesis. The energy initially absorbed by plants is then converted to chemical energy.
These are all naturally occurring processes of using solar energy. However, men have found ways and means to harness this energy in order to produce thermal energy. This is then used to produce electric energy needed by different communities for power.
One of the most popular technologies used by men to harness solar energy is solar panels. These are made of photovoltaic cells, oftentimes referred to as solar cells, which harvest sunlight and coverts it to electricity. Various homes and commercial buildings today utilize these solar panels to provide electricity. Some use it for their heating systems as well.
Solar energy is considered as renewable and clean energy. As long as the sun is present, it will continue to provide solar energy for mankind.