Solar Energy Heat
When solar energy is converted to thermal energy (heat) it can be used to heat water for use in buildings, swimming pools or homes. It can also heat the inside of the homes and buildings themselves.
Solar Energy Electricity, Small Scale
Photovoltaic (PV) devices or "solar cells" convert solar energy directly into electricity. Individual or small groups of cells can be used to charge watch or calculator batteries.
Solar Energy Electricity, Large Scale
When many individual PV cells are grouped together in panels or groups of panels they can power individual homes or larger buildings. The drawback with solar energy for bringing power into homes or buildings is the expense to buy, install and maintain solar panels. In an effort to establish a more affordable system, there are models being explored where larger sites of solar panels are set up and maintained by companies who then lease the energy to consumers.
Solar Consumer Goods
Products such as lights for residential paths or patio umbrellas collect solar energy during the day and provide cost-free light at night. Solar backpacks or bags can be carried on hikes and will maintain enough energy to keep a mobile phone charged.
Solar Powered Cars
Some cars In the early stages of testing are powered by solar energy or, more accurately, by hydrogen created using solar energy. Honda, for example, announced in January of 2010 that it was opening a new solar hydrogen station where a model refueling appliance is available to refill a fuel cell electric car overnight. The goal is to make these refueling appliances available for use in individual homes.