Solar energy could assist heating and cooling technologies12th Jul 2012
Solar power has heaps of uses and a new report suggests it could soon be harnessed to help with the world's heating and cooling needs.
Released by the International Energy Agency (IEA), the study found that solar has the potential to account for a sixth of the world's requirements.
Now this may not sound too impressive, but this could eliminate 800 megatonnes of carbon dioxide emissions every year, which is more than Germany's total from 2009.
Paolo Frankl, head of the IEA’s Renewable Energy Division, said that solar energy is important for plenty of other reasons as well.
He commented: "Given that global energy demand for heat represents almost half of the world’s final energy use - more than the combined global demand for electricity and transport - solar heat can make a significant contribution in both tackling climate change and strengthening energy security."
Many of us use more heating and cooling devices in our everyday lives than we would care to realise - solar power could replace the technologies used to heat water in homes, for example.
As for cooling, solar thermal technology can be used to reduce the temperature of the air, in turn reducing the burden on electric grids during times of peak demand.
In other words, solar energy could soon be replacing your air conditioning systems!
The uses of solar power don't stop there either - industry could benefit from the technology, as many sectors have high demand for low and medium heat.
In agriculture, for example, the washing and drying of products requires the application of heat.
The IEA believes that solar heating technologies could supply 20 per cent of global industrial demand for low temperature heat by 2050 - but policy support is needed to make sure this becomes a reality.
Posted by Mike Peacock