Solar power is a term that is used for many different processes in the world today, with the general term referring to any energy production method that relies upon the sun as a driving force behind its generation. Traditionally this has referred to photovoltaic energy cells in particular as “solar energy”, with silicon-based collection panels being used to harvest energy from the sun’s rays to provide power for various devices. In a larger sense, however, solar power can also apply to a number of different energy production methods.
Wind energy, for instance, is another form of solar power that is simply harvested and converted through a means other than radiated energy collection. Wind currents are the result of disturbances being created in atmospheric conditions due to the heating and cooling of the air around the world thanks to a combination of the Earth’s rotation as well as the impact the sun is having on a particular area at any given time – hence large changes in wind being common around daybreak and sunset where atmospheric conditions are shifting due to new hot spots being created and cool spots forming as well. Wind energy looks to take advantage of this by collecting the physical force generated by moving winds and converting it into energy through the use of turbines.
Many forms of hydroelectric power and attributed to solar energy as well (and, in some cases, lunar energy). Tidal flows, for instance, are the result of the same heating and cooling changes that affect the atmosphere taking place in the oceans, with large bodies of water being heated or cooled regularly. As the water heats the hotter water naturally flows to the surface of the ocean or other large body, with cold water sinking – thus creating a natural constant cycle throughout the oceans and other large lakes or seas as the water continuously cycles. This is true as well for tidal flows that rely upon gravitational pulls throughout any particular time of the year (though this is more reliant upon the moon rather than the sun and as such can be attributed more to lunar energy than solar energy). Any energy production method that utilizes a turbine or other system within the water itself to tap into the inherent energy created by these physical changes in the environment is both hydroelectric and solar in nature, meaning that solar energy can be found in many different formats around the world at any particular time and has been key in human development for a number of years.
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