There are several methods of harvesting the free energy from the sun, (solar energy). The simplest method is passive solar design. By designing and positioning a building in such a way that its exposure to the sun’s rays in maximised, it is possible to minimise the need for heating and lighting provision from other energy sources.


The ability to extract heat energy from sunlight is classified as solar thermal. This works by absorbing the heat from the suns rays and transferring it to a suitable medium for either storage or immediate use. Solar thermal panels are designed to capture as much of the sun’s energy through the use of evacuated tubes, parabolic concentrators, or other methods, and the current versions of this technology are effective even in overcast conditions.

Within the industrial and commercial sector, solar thermal projects can have a role to play in reducing operating costs, and should always form part of the project decision process.



Energy from the sun can provide up to 2/3 of Ireland’s electricity requirements, unfortunately the cost per kWh generated is often prohibitively high due to low photocell conversion factors and high cell production costs. Any Solar PV system will require a large array to be installed to get any substantial generation.

Often a Solar PV solution can be justified through mitigating other costs such as installing electrical services for long distances, e.g. rural communications, car park lighting or emergency services.

With further efficiency improvements, reduction in fabrication costs and the drive to reduce carbon emissions by increasing energy costs, integrating solar PV installations into mainstream projects will become commonplace in future years.

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