Solar energy is a combination of heat and potential energy, that comes to the surface of the earth in the form of rays. When rays, or rather the radiation of the sun, reaches the surface of the earth, it transforms itself into heat and light energy. This energy, can be utilized by different techniques, to produce usable forms of energy. Many scientists have endorsed and emphasized the advantages of solar energy for homes and household appliances, that can be prominently used for domestic purposes.
A solar panel is a huge set of solar cells, or rather photo voltaic cells that produce electricity when exposed to the sun. The amount of electricity that is produced by a stack is always proportionate or in a ratio to the concentration of sunlight on the stack of solar cells. Research and development are under way to develop a method, where the solar panel that is mounted on the roof top would move in accordance with the movement of the sun, throughout the day, in the sky. Some of the companies working on the concept of solar energy, have also developed techniques like solar tower, parabolic concentrator of sun's rays, etc., however these developments are for a very large-scale of energy generation and unfortunately cannot be introduced at a domestic scale. The electricity that is generated by the solar panel can be used to run household appliances.
Solar cookers are a very simple innovation, that is being used very widely in many tropical, sub-tropical, and monsoon regions. The solar cooker is basically a box attached with a large reflector. The food that is to be cooked, is placed inside the box. The reflector concentrates the sun's rays on the box, thus heating it. The food that is placed inside, requires a longer span of time to get cooked.
A solar refrigerator is a concept that works on the simple principle, that water evaporating from a container, takes away a specified amount of heat with itself, thus reducing the temperature of the container. Very few solar refrigerators are in operation today and many companies and entrepreneurs have seen the potential in the development and usage of this product at a domestic level which is sure to lead towards a regular commercial production.
Solar Water Heaters
The solar water heater is another excellent invention, that uses solar energy with the help of a simple process. The heating process is very much parallel to the working of the solar cell. The only difference is, that the panel of the heater does not work on the basis of photo voltaic effect. Instead, the water is heated in an insulated panel, that is directly exposed to the rays of the sun, and is stored in an insulated tank in order to keep it hot for later use. The success of the solar water heater was especially good, as it worked even in the monsoon regions, during cloudy weather.
Solar Composting Toilets
One of the appliances that can be integrated into almost all the homes around the world, is the solar composting toilet. The toilet makes use of solar energy to decompose the waste matter and turn it into usable compost. This appliance has however, not gained widespread usage, due to lack of popularity.
Among home appliances of solar energy, solar panels require a huge investment. On the other hand, the remaining items do not require very huge investments and can be installed in homes at a very reasonable price. Considering the advantages and disadvantages of solar energy, the benefits of using this energy source for household appliances would certainly ensure a pollution free environment and resource conservation, all within the domain of sustainable development.