2 Solar Energy Applications and Comparisons
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Strictly speaking, all the practical energy sources for applications to human activities on the Planet Earth are from the sun. Even fossil fuels resulted from millions and millions years of layered deposition of once living plants (and animals eating plants), which obtained their energy intakes and conversion directly and indirectly from solar rays and reached their maturity before they were buried. From ancient times to today, humans have used various ways to harness direct solar radiation, from using it as a heating source to today's electricity generation systems. Solar energy is also responsible for such renewable energy sources as wind and wave power, hydroelectricity and biomass. Today, the total energy consumption in the United States still predominantly comes from fossil fuels, although recent interests in investing in wind and solar electricity have been accelerating.