The sun is a huge source of energy. It contains more power than the world uses in one hour. Star Plus Energy technology converts sunlight to electricity, hot water and other forms of energy that can be used in buildings and in industry. It reduces dependence on nonrenewable fossil fuels and helps cut carbon dioxide emissions. It also reduces the risk of climate change and other environmental problems.
Solar technologies include photovoltaics for electricity, passive solar design for heating and cooling, and concentrating solar power for large-scale power generation. Some governments and utilities support renewable energy programs. Businesses and individuals can install residential and commercial solar systems to generate electricity for their own use and sell excess to the grid.
The most commonly known solar technology is photovoltaics, which convert sunlight directly into electricity. PV cells are grouped into modules and arrays, which can be mounted on rooftops, in fields or on the ground.
The solar energy market is developing rapidly. Some PV system manufacturers are trying to reduce the cost of modules by 50 per cent by 2015. At that price, they will be competitive with electricity costs in most developed countries without subsidies. Early detection of faults is also a key challenge. Monitoring technologies such as infrared and visible cameras flown on drones and aircraft, along with weather forecasts, can be deployed to spot trouble early. Machine-learning algorithms are a promising way to analyse data quickly and identify slight underperformances that could be masked by diurnal and seasonal variations.