Solar technology is the generic term for the conversion of solar energy into another form of energy. Solar energy can be converted into heat, which is used to heat water, but also into electrical energy. The first discipline is called solar thermal, the second photovoltaic
. Both forms of conversion are directly dependent on sunlight. If no sunlight is available, no energy conversion takes place. Solar thermal energy works with solar collectors and converts solar radiation into thermal energy. The solar collectors consist of a surface or individual tubes through which water flows. To ensure that they absorb as much solar energy as possible, solar collectors are dark and may also be equipped with reflective devices that reflect sunlight onto the collector tubes.
Photovoltaics is a different story. In this technology, solar radiation is converted into electrical energy. The conversion is based on the photoelectric effect, which was already proven in 1839 by the French physicist A. E. Becquerel. Based on this technology, solar cells and solar modules are constructed.