The different kinds of solar energy include:
Passive solar heating systems which capture sunlight directly and convert it into low- temperature heat for heating (Miller, 2000).
Active solar heating systems collect sunlight and through the use of a fan or pump produce heating for space or water.
Solar Thermal plates (High temperature heat and electricity) concentrates sunlight onto a central receiver system with computer controlled mirrors, curved or parabolic collectors, or optical concentrators. Water or oil is heated to produce steam which moves turbines in order to generate electricity.
Photovoltaic solar cells make use of silicon cells which release a flow of electrons when struck by sunlight. This generates an electrical current.
The best type of system to use for a medium sized building would be the Passive solar heating systems which can be matched with insulation and orientation of the building to enhance energy saving. This type of system has no CO2 emissions with very little air and water pollution. A major drawback of this system is that it has a relatively short life span.
Jovanovich N (2005) Renewable energy resources. Unpublished.
Miller G T (2000) Living in the environment. Cole Publishing Company, pp 396-434