Solar Energy

The latter half of the past century has motivated innovative thinkers worldwide to develop new ways to reduce mankind’s ecological footprint. In particular, as the globe as a whole comes to face with rising ocean levels, surging temperatures, and plummeting crop yield and wildlife, the question of green energy has become stock among today’s issues. A slew of alternatives to fossil fuels has been proposed, from hydroelectricity to wind power. Along with these is included a development of superiorly persuasive benefits: solar energy.

Solar energy, just as the title implies, is a method through which energy given from the Sun is converted and utilized to generate electricity, among other applications such as heating, ventilation, and water purification. Most typically, this operation is employed through the use of photovoltaic (PV) cells, the very same which have powered satellites launched in the Earth’s atmosphere as far back as the late 1950’s. PV cells take advantage of the photoelectric effect, in short using semiconductors such as silicon to convert photons—light particles—into electrons.

Perhaps the most striking advantage to this process is the fact that nonrenewable fossil fuels are not necessary to generate energy. In turn, this means that the effects of green house gases, produced in bulk by the burning of coal and oil, would become greatly reduced. The cause behind rapidly increasing global warming is often predominantly attributed to these emissions. Also, without a need for the collecting of fossil fuels, deforestation can be curbed, sparing the destruction of already endangered eco-systems. More close to home, solar power could contribute to a lowered hostility among cultures themselves. The exchange of gasoline and other fuels among nations has been known to generate an incredible amount of disagreement. This further suggests that energy courtesy of the Sun would not be subject to a volatile price market.

Solar power boasts also the creation of new jobs, the ability to easily fuel remote rural areas, and an infinite source of energy—so long as the Sun remains alight. As with any new development, though, certain kinks have yet to be resolved. The most apparent problem is that, of course, the Sun only gives off light during the daytime. Additionally, daylight hours fluctuate throughout the year, as does the intensity of solar radiation. In order for solar power to be reliable and efficient, methods of energy storage must be further improved. The most crippling disadvantage to the employment of a solar powered resource is predictably the initial cost involved with installing solar panels. Though energy collected thereafter is regarded as a free source, this upfront cost is no easy obstacle. In the way that nuclear power was once hardly feasible, as interest builds and further research is conducted, there is still hope that usage of the Sun’s energy may become a valuable, capable resource. Despite the drawbacks, solar energy still runs the possibility of a bright energy

Category: Green Energy

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