Solar energy has been used for centuries for drying crops, clothes, wood, and crop residues, and heating buildings. But now methods have been developed to make these activities more efficient, and to use solar energy in different ways. There are two main types of solar energy technology: passive solar (heat) and photovoltaic. Selected examples of both are demonstrated at the site. Solar drier
This is a method for increasing the efficiency and cleanliness of solar drying. Fruit and vegetables are dried on racks in a small chamber with a solid earth back wall and plastic film covering. The drier is constructed from available stone, mud, bamboo and white plastic sheet and built facing south to maximise the sunshine it receives. The design ensures a constant airflow. Solar cooker
The solar parabolic cooker is a reflecting surface in the form of a parabolic dish which concentrates the solar rays at a focal point on which the cooking pot is placed. The reflector is mounted in such a way that it can be easily adjusted to face the sun. The quantity of heat delivered to the cooking pot is proportionate to the reflector size; very high temperatures can be attained sufficient for most conventional cooking such as rice and lentil soup (dal). The net power of the cooker is approximately 700 watts in good sunshine.
The Tukimara solar lamp consists of a small solar photovoltaic module and three tiny semiconductor devices called white light emitting diodes (WLEDs) that convert electricity into white light more efficiently than traditional filament lamps. The three WLEDs together use only about 0.5 Watt of power, much less than the approximately 10 Watt consumption of the conventional solar DC lamps used in Nepal. Solar lamps have strong advantages for rural kitchens, where they provide bright, smoke-free light, with no danger of fire, unlike kerosene lamps. Solar lamps can be used like a torch, and are safe when handled by children....
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