I'm curious about limits for extracting solar energy, but I never studied this stuff so I'm going to speculate a lot.
My first question deals with the things like wind energy. I assume this energy is largely a result of the atmosphere trying to regain equilibrium from the sun heating things up unevenly. Is this correct? This relates to solar energy since solar panels can get that energy first. However, the electricity they generate is used locally, so eventually it does end up as heat.
This seems like double dipping. We can get the energy first as electricity then again in some other form such as wind. I assume this implies a limit on the conversion efficiency of things like solar panels. Getting the energy from the heat generated by sunlight must be connected heat engines. Therefore, to preserve conservation of energy, there must be a theoretical limit on solar panel efficiency that is equal to the energy in the sunlight minus the energy one can extract from subsequent heat engines. Is this correct? What are these limits?