The sun provides light and heat and is a virtually inexhaustible source of energy some 150 million kilometres from Earth. In principle, solar energy drives all major processes on Earth: If there were no sun, there would be no Earth. In popular terms, the sun is the engine of the Earth.
30% of the rays of the sun are reflected back to the universe. In other words, 70% of the rays are radiated onto the Earth. This means that the Earth receives more energy from the sun in just one hour than all the countries in the world put together use in a whole year – or, phrased differently: The daily amount of solar energy reaching the Earth's surface is equivalent to the amount of energy consumed by the 6 billion people on Earth over a period of 27 years . . .
All renewable energy, such as wave and wind energy, is derived from and driven by the nuclear energy processes at the core of the sun.
Solar energy is the energy of the sun. In order to harness solar energy and put it to use, it needs to be converted into another, usable form of energy, using, for instance:
Solar panels produce heat – thermal energy, which can be used for heating domestic water and for space heating.
Solar cells (Photovoltaic)
Solar cells produce electrical energy, i.e. solar cells convert the energy of the sun into electricity.
Solar energy is the cleanest and the most natural form of energy in the universe – and, as opposed to fossil fuels, it is available everywhere on the planet.
40% of the EU's energy consumption is used for heating of buildings.