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Solar Power – The Green Source of Energy

Solar Power, a renewable source of energy, is one of the most available sources on Earth. However, being an intermittent source of energy, it needs to be enhanced by storage or another energy source. Even though solar energy systems nowadays still have low average efficiencies, due to modern technology, research is being put into developing high-efficient and low-cost systems daily. Using solar energy is beneficial because it allows a more environmentally friendly or a “greener” way of living. It is also a freely available resource, which is one of its many advantages as once installed and does not cost more than the cost of setting up and routine maintenance.

Concentrating Solar Energy Systems such as “Stirling Disks” are large solar power plants that use modern technologies to convert light energy into useful electric energy. A direct technology of using solar energy involves the usage of Photovoltaics, which is a system is directed for small appliances and homes.

Solar Power Information

It is important to know of some information about solar power before purchasing it. The definition of solar power is “energy systems that produce energy directly from sunlight”. It is the conversion of sunlight to electricity. Most of our energy resources are anyway indirect forms of solar energy. Without the sun, the wind would not blow. Additionally, the sun causes evaporation of water which results in water collecting up in rivers after condensation. This water is used for hydro electrical power. Without the sun, water would be eternally locked in a solid state: ice. Moreover, bio-fuels cannot exist without the sun as well. If you were to go more into depth it is also the sun that allows life, which in turn, would provide fossil fuels. An essential fact about solar energy is that it is a renewable source of energy as sunlight could be used any time.

Solar power is transmitted directly by “photovoltaics” (PV), or indirectly with “concentrating solar power (CSP). Photovoltaics are used to power small to medium sized equipment such as calculators to off-grid homes. CSP involves two methods: the first method is to simply boil water which is then used for providing power; the second and more complicated method entails technology such as the sterling engine dishes which use a sterling cycle engine to power a generator. Another detail to keep in mind that even though installation of solar power is costly, this cost has decreased significantly over the past couple of years making it affordable for almost everyone. Furthermore, small solar applications are also being used to replace other sources in the developing world. Since solar power is a renewable source of energy, this means you can pay up front for the next twenty years or so of energy. However, non-renewable energy sources are purchased as consumed.

Solar Power Efficiency

So how efficient is solar energy in reality? Research states that the current photovoltaic conversion efficiency is about 15% and improving day by day! Additionally, some experimental models are yielding over 40% efficiencies! This shows that solar energy is becoming more superior than what is was about twenty years ago. Solar panel efficiencies are averaged at 20%. However, do not be discouraged. The most advanced solar energy systems are estimated to have an average of 40% efficiencies. However, when converting the resulting electricity (from solar energy) into light the efficiency does reduce by 15%.

Thus, solar panels do have a reduced efficiency when it comes to lighting up our homes. Nevertheless, the most proficient way of making most of solar energy is to utilize as much direct sunlight through day light and passive solar heating technologies and also use the highest efficiency solar panels for the rest of our energy requirements. High efficiency solar cells are a type of solar cell that averages the highest efficiencies in comparison to standard solar cells. Even though solar power systems generally still have low average efficiencies, a lot of research is being put into developing high-efficient and low-cost systems daily.

The Advantages of Solar Energy Technology in Your Life

Even though solar energy does have its downsides, such as intermittency, where it has to be combined with a form of storage or another source of energy, it still has many advantages to it. Such advantages include reliability, cost, environmental friendliness, aesthetics, and sustainability. Solar energy, for one, is more reliable than wind power and hydro power. This is because the sun will continue to rise for the next 4 billion years without fail, whereas, wind and water might not be available daily. In cases such as during the night and cloudy nights, where solar power is not useful the problems are eased as intermittency is 100% predictable. Furthermore, another advantage of solar power is that although clouds diminish solar power it does not eliminate it.

One essential advantage of solar collectors is that they require minimum maintenance one installed and also provides free energy. Additionally, although solar cells do wear out, their lifespan is measured in decades. The durability of photovoltaic cells improves year by year. More importantly, even though solar cells have been an expensive method of generating electricity, this cost is reducing per kilowatt per year. In addition, solar cells also operate cheaply after installation. Furthermore, solar power has its advantages when it comes to environmental friendliness. Nowadays, everyone is going “green” in order to conserve and protect our earth. Solar power is an efficient way of going green, since it produces zero pollution.

 

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