They both work extremely well, but for very different purposes. If you need to heat water, then solar thermal technology is the right way to go (you won’t have to use gas to run your hot water heater)… and if you need to plug in your iPod, then you need to convert that light energy (photo) into electricity (voltage) so in this case you need solar photovoltaic technologies (solar panels)… They are both functional and energy efficient systems, it’s like asking which is a better fruit: An Apple or An Orange?!
Solar thermal takes solar energy to create heat. Solar photovoltaic takes solar energy to create electricity. If you want to compare the efficiency of processing solar energy, they do it to different degrees; so a comparison can’t really be drawn.
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