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Since ancient times, mankind has harness the power of the sun for various energy uses — from using the heat of sun for drying things, focusing the sunray with magnifying glasses to start fire, to using solar panels to generate electricity. Nowadays, solar energy is also commonly used to heat water and pools. A properly designed house will optimize the light and heat from the sun to minimise the need for lighting and heating.

Today, converting solar energy into electricity is high on the political agenda for many countries, amid the rising cruel oil price and the push to find energy sources that are more environmentally friendly.
 
Initially, generating electricity from the sun is slow to take off because of the investment required for new equipment and evolving technologies. But the costs have dropped rapidly in recent years. This is mainly due to the lower cost of solar power panel production. With the reduction in cost, there are now more incentives for home owners and building owners to switch to clean solar power. There are also promising new technologies that maximise the full potential of solar energy.
How Solar Power Works
 
There are several ways to use the sun’s power to generate electricity. One of the most promising is by concentrating solar power. This involves using mirrors to reflect and focus the sun’s rays to heat up a small area, the heat is then used to power a generator. This is normally coupled with a steam turbine generator. The heat can also be used to heat up salt until it is molten. The molten salt can be stored until it is needed. The molten salt is used to heat up water to drive a steam turbine to generate electricity. This allow the continual generation of electricity even when the sun is not shining. Another way to harnass solar power is through photovoltaic panels. This is commonly used in small household while the molten salt is used in large electricity power plant.