Solar energy  

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  1. Energy in the form of electromagnetic radiation emitted from the Sun; but especially that part of this energy that is converted into thermal or electrical energy on Earth

Solar energy is the utilization of the radiant energy from the Sun. Solar power is used interchangeably with solar energy but refers more specifically to the conversion of sunlight into electricity by photovoltaics and concentrating solar thermal devices, or by one of several experimental technologies such as thermoelectric converters, solar chimneys and solar ponds.

Solar energy and shading are important considerations in building design. Thermal mass is used to conserve the heat that sunshine delivers to all buildings. Daylighting techniques optimize the use of light in buildings. Solar water heaters heat swimming pools and provide domestic hot water. In agriculture, greenhouses expand growing seasons and photovoltaic-powered pumps provide water for grazing animals. Evaporation ponds are used to harvest salt and clean waste streams of contaminants. Solar energy is the fastest growing form of energy production.

Solar distillation and disinfection techniques produce potable water for millions of people worldwide. Family-scale solar cookers and larger solar kitchens concentrate sunlight for cooking, drying and pasteurization. Clotheslines are a common application of solar energy. More sophisticated concentrating technologies magnify the rays of the Sun for high-temperature material testing, metal smelting and industrial chemical production. A range of prototype solar vehicles provide ground, air and sea transportation.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Solar energy" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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