- Renewable & Alternative Energy
Solar Energy: A Viable Alternative
The practice of harnessing solar energy for heat and light has been around since ancient times in one form or another. The current technology of solar energy is in a position to make a significant contribution to the global energy crisis which exists as a result of dwindling supplies of fossil fuels.
Photovoltaic panels, more popularly known as solar panels can capture solar energy and convert it for heating water or producing electricity. Solar energy is becoming more affordable as well as being a clean and efficient source of energy, thus eliminating pollution. Furthermore the cost of harnessing solar energy is in the initial outlay for the fitting of the necessary equipment. One this is installed, solar power is free, efficient and effective for the user.
The total amount of energy from the sun reaching the surface of the earth is of great magnitude. In one year, for example, it is double the amount that could be obtained from a combination of all of the planet's other resources of gas,oil, coal and uranium which are all non-renewable.
Active techniques of harnessing solar power includes the use of pumps and fans along with photovoltaic panels to convert sunlight into a usable energy form. It is worth noting that the photovoltaic panels used for harnessing solar power are becoming less expensive and hence more affordable for the average home-owner than they were in the past
This is partly because the panels are becoming more efficient with the most recent technology so they are smaller and less expensive to manufacture. The generation of energy by solar means has very positive implications for the environment as well as it produces no emissions into the atmosphere as it merely harnesses the power of sunlight which is already there anyway.
It is also becoming more practical as time goes on to place these solar panels on the roofs of people's houses and they are an easy system for home-owners to use to meet their hot water, heating and/or energy needs.As time goes on these solar panels are also becoming more efficient at producing energy even in adverse weather conditions i.e. when it is cloudy or overcast.
As with wind energy, there is the option in some countries of selling surplus electricity generated from a solar system of energy production back to the traditional electricity supplier.
As solar energy becomes an increasingly efficient system of meeting our electricity needs, more companies and industries are using it as it becomes more economically viable to do so.
In many countries (such as Japan, the United States and Germany)there are grants available as a financial incentive to home-owners and business to convert to solar energy. These grants can subsidize the cost of purchasing and installing a solar-powered system and afterwards the system is free to run and maintain.
The technology of solar energy is continuing to advance and alongside this more people are availing of this free, efficient and environmentally-friendly means of heating and producing electricity for our homes and businesses.