Solar technology is a broad subject with many different disciplines and applications. Solar technology can be divided into several different areas. These include solar passive technology, solar photovoltaic technology, solar water heating technology and solar process heat technologies. Fundamental to each of these solar technologies is the knowledge needed to manufacture, design and apply each of these technologies.
Study the solar technology marketplace. Find out what companies produce what type of solar technology. Review their product offerings and their research focus. Examine the data sheets and application design notes related to these products. Also examine solar manufacturing operations. Find out what equipment companies use to manufacture their solar products. Also find out what type of software they use to design their solar products with.
Review available online solar learning programs, solar seminars and the solar curricula of different educational institutions. Discern which of these best fit your solar technology interests and your solar technology goals. Consider the solar learning programs that the U.S. Department of Energy and your state, county and city governments sponsor. Many of these programs are free.
Build up a solar technology library. Find books that relate to different aspects of solar technology. Look at the books used to teach solar technology at different high schools, colleges and universities. Also bookmark web sites that focus on the business and technological aspects of solar design. Find solar magazines that explain basic solar technology principles as applied to the design and manufacture of solar components and systems.
Find solar technology analysis and design tools. Look for tools that will let you design, analyze and model different types of solar energy components and systems. Also look for tools that let you calculate building energy requirements.Next, set up a solar laboratory. Start with simple solar construction kits for building solar chargers, solar heaters, solar toys, solar panels and solar energy storage systems. Build up to larger systems as your knowledge advances. Also include in your solar laboratory software that facilitates the automated design and simulation of solar devices.
Study the basic technologies that are fundamental to solar technology. Focus on general science and engineering. Study books and take courses that will give you a scientific understanding of physical laws that govern electricity, heat and fluids. Also, take courses in advanced math, chemistry and physics as well as advanced engineering technology related to electricity and electronics, energy management, thermodynamics and fluid dynamics.Find out how different types of solar technology components are designed, manufactured and used. Specifically, look at the different methods used to manufacture and design solar cells, solar water tanks, solar battery charges and solar panels. Also focus on batteries, power management, and electric utility grid technology. Structure your study such that you will be able to design a solar system that will not only be able to store solar energy within a battery system, but also will be able to be integrated within a public utility electric grid.