Solar thermal energy is the widely used source of energy and is quite reliable and powerful as it is coming out from never ending sun. It has gained much popularity because of its number of advantages. It leads to development of green innovations as it is very clean and environmental-friendly and does not create any kind of pollution. It offers cost-effective means of energy that serves various purposes.
Solar energy is harnessed to produce large amount of heat that can be utilized to fulfill various requirements. Different kinds of thermal collectors including low, medium and high temperature are required to generate heat at different levels. Low and medium temperature collectors are usually made up of flat plates whereas high thermal collectors use mirrors or lenses to produce heat. Low thermal collectors are generally used to heat up the swimming pools whereas medium thermal collectors serve the purpose of supplying hot water or air for residential as well as commercial use. High thermal collectors on the other hand, are used to generate electricity that enables the people to meet their power requirements.
The thermal mass material including concrete, stone or water can be used to store the solar energy for future use, as sunlight is available during daylight hours only. It maintains a comfortable temperature passively and reduces the energy consumption once incorporated in a proper manner. Sunlight heat can also be used for drying purpose. Drying of crops and various food products including grains, fruits and fish using thermal energy provides an economic and eco-friendly solutions and leads to improvement in the quality of products. It also offers an effective method for drying wood and other forms of biomass that eliminates the moisture completely and makes them suitable for use. One of the important functions of solar thermal energy is that it can be used for getting pure dinking water and serves the cooking purpose. It eliminates the fuel cost, protects the environment from pollution and reduces the risk of fire accidents. It maintains the nutritional value of the food and keeps people healthy.
Concentrated sun power makes available the high temperature sun energy that can be utilized to run steam turbines and generate electricity. High thermal energy can be stored and supplied to perform various commercial activities. Thermal power plants are quite effective in deserts and remote areas where people can make better use of sunlight and large open areas. Hence, solar thermal energy offers various means of fulfilling our requirements at reduced cost while making the environment clean and green in nature.