Over the last decade or two, many people have turned into eco-warriors. And that’s a good thing for our planet. It is important that we realize that without change, we will leave a dying Earth for future generations to try and save.

So maybe you started with recycling, or by installing energy efficient light bulbs or perhaps planting trees. It all helps! The thing is, you can make a difference and save money by installing solar power, in your home or at your office.

In this article, we will take an in-depth look at solar power and explain the difference between active and passive solar energy systems. But first, a quick look at how solar energy works.

Solar energy

So you have seen solar panels on roofs of residences as well as commercial buildings. But how do these panels convert sunlight into electricity?

Well, let’s take a closer look at the solar panels themselves. They consist of millions of solar cells which include semiconductors made out of silicon. When hit by the sun’s rays, these generate something known as a photovoltaic reaction. Here, the sun’s rays are converted into energy which becomes the electricity that runs your household. Of course, at night there is no sun, so any extra energy is stored for use later. That’s why the system can run at nighttime.

The sun is an excellent source of clean energy that is renewable. In fact, 18 days of sunshine will provide the same amount of energy as all the supply of coal, gas, and oil found on earth. We are certainly not utilizing it effectively at all.

Now let’s take a closer look at active and passive solar systems.

In essence, both of these will convert the rays of the sun into energy or heat. Each operates a little differently from each other, however.

Active solar energy systems

With an active system, external energy sources form part of the system. These include backup components such as heat pumps or radiators, for example. They help to capture solar energy and then store it and convert into electricity when needed. Most active solar energy systems will have some of the following aspects:

  • The collection point of the sun’s rays consists of PV panels that are flat, mounted to the roof and that do not move. Panels are connected to each other in a modular format.