Solar Energy Conversion and Photoenergy Systems theme in two volumes is a component of Encyclopedia of Energy Sciences, Engineering and Technology Resources in the global Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems (EOLSS), which is an integrated compendium of twenty one Encyclopedias.
Any human activity needs energy and renewable energies are always present all over the world. Each location has its own specific renewable potential and it is our task to develop the suitable technologies to profit, at local level, this potential to not only produce the needed energy but also create economic activity and wealth.
Solar energy, in particular, has the highest potential among all existing renewable energies and, in the context of the energy, water and climate change global problems mankind will face in the coming years, the substantial integration of solar energy technologies into our societies will an absolute needs in the short to medium term. The number of applications of solar energy is simply huge, covering a very wide range of human activities. Some of these applications are already technically and economically viable, being others still at research or demonstration level.
In addition, it has been demonstrated the important benefits solar energy can provide to any area with medium-high solar irradiation level: from sustainability to energy independence, as well as economic development and knowledge creation. Due to this, solar energy development, from photovoltaic to solar thermal or power applications, has been very intense during the last years in all the, so called, “Sun Belt”. There is also the general consensus, at many countries, that we should accelerate the current solar energy pathway, increasing the research efforts to make economically feasible the applications that today are only technically feasible. This effort and the status of most of these applications have been discussed along this paper and within the articles of the topic.
The Theme on Solar Energy Conversion and Photoenergy Systems with contributions from distinguished experts in the field, discusses solar energy related technologies and applications, some of which are already in commercial and practical applications and others are under research and testing level. The volumes provide an analysis and discussion about the reasons behind the current efforts of our society, considering both developed and developing countries, to accelerate the introduction of the huge solar energy potential into our normal daily lives. The two volumes also provide some basic information about the solar energy potential, history and the amazing trip of a photon from its creation in the Sun until its arrival to the Earth.
These two volumes are aimed at the following five major target audiences: University and College Students Educators, Professional Practitioners, Research Personnel and Policy Analysts, Managers, and Decision Makers, NGOs and GOs.