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Can renewable energy sources power the world?
Can renewable energy sources power the world?

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Week 2: Solar energy for heating and daylighting


This week you will look at some of the methods employed to gather and use the Sun’s thermal (i.e. heat) energy. You will also look briefly at the role of the Sun’s light in reducing the need for artificial lighting in buildings.

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By the end of the week, you will be able to:

  • describe at an introductory level the basic principles underlying the availability of solar radiation and the seasonal differences in solar radiation reaching the Earth at different locations
  • understand at an introductory level the basic physical principles underlying the operation of solar thermal energy systems
  • describe the main differences between active and passive solar heating systems, and the basic principles of solar ‘daylighting’
  • understand at an introductory level the use of solar energy to drive engines for electricity generation and the main ways to concentrate the radiation to produce high temperatures.