Alternative Energy

Alternative Energy

Alternative energy news, and information about renewable energy technologies.

Apr 28

Why Solar is the Best Energy Solution

Posted in Future Technology | Solar Power

Solar Energy The amount of energy the sun sends towards our planet is 35,000 times more than what we currently produce and consume. Some part of this energy — better known as solar radiation — is reflected back into space but a lot of it is absorbed by the atmosphere and other elements surrounding the inner atmosphere. This energy can be easily harnessed for practical purposes such as heating homes, lighting bulbs and running automobiles and even airplanes. The uses can be as varied as the uses of energy itself. And the great thing is that we are never going to run out of this massive energy resource even for thousands and thousands of years.

Solar energy can be generated in two forms, namely electricity and heat. Solar cells or “photovoltaics” are used to convert solar radiation into electricity. Photovoltaic systems release no greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and they don’t even need direct sunlight to produce energy; they just need daylight and this means they can operate even during cloudy and less bright days.

Electricity is generated indirectly too by first generating heat from solar energy and then using the steam produced in the process to run power generators. Here too, since no fossil fuels are being burned to produce heat, the resultant energy to 100% eco-friendly.

Although the oil lobby does its best to throttle endeavors to tap into renewable energy resources like solar energy, many countries are taking proactive strides towards setting up solar-energy generation plants. The United States has taken a lead by having 9 of the world’s 13 biggest photovoltaic solar energy projects.

The concept of using sun as an energy source is not new; even during ancient times the Greeks, the Chinese and the Native Americans were using the sun to warm their homes and keep them disease free.

  • Upaya

    I think solar can be a valuable and significant energy resource, however it must be one part of several solutions.

    Why I write here is that I am not fond of your statistic, that we receive “35,000 times more [energy from the sun] than what we currently produce and consume” – it is not backed up by evidence and ignores the fact that much of this energy is already being used by all organic life on the planet. I don’t know where your figure comes from but it certainly should not be used to imply that anything close to that figure is possible to turn into electricity.

  • Bob Wallace

    Yes. And I’m speaking with experience.

    I’ve been ‘off the grid’ most of the time since 1989. I’ve been getting a very high percentage of my electricity from a rather poorly situated and primitive (by what’s possible today) system.

    My panels are located in Northern California where they don’t get good winter sun. Move the panels to a better location such as the SW desert would greatly increase power output.

    And I store power for the ‘dark hours’ in lead acid batteries. Systems such as compressed air (CAES), pumped hydro, flow batteries, and flywheels would be more efficient.

    CAES, pumped hydro, and flow batteries are currently in commercial use. Flywheels are in the study phase with a modest scale installation scheduled later this year.

  • GermanDom

    Solar Power will be our future, at least a good part of it. However, I don’t think it will be in the form of PV – at least not in the near future. CSP using mirrors etc.. to concentrate the incoming energy is a much more economic.

    Cheers, Dom

  • upaya

    I was not questioning the viability of utilizing the suns energy, for I appreciate full well, and with sufficient experience, to say that one can live a very good quality of life merely on the numerous solar technologies. However, different regions of the world would do better for using a variety of sources. I.E. In Britain we would have to use at least wind power, solar and tidal to provide the stability of energy supply necessary for replacing nonrenewable energy production. Solar by itself here is not possible at current solar tech levels even if we stored the energy in the good ways you stated.

    My point in the first comment was questioning the amount of solar energy reaching our planet. While there may be that level of radiation, much of it is used by the planet and it’s organisms themselves, leaving nothing near that figure as a resource we can utilize to run our electronics, heat our water and produce everything we deem as necessary. I like the sentiments of the article but thought the figures misleading. However, I like this blog and I hope you continue your good work!

  • inventor

    Solar steam will be the energy of tomorrow until they build fusion reactors and the like.

  • dapo ojo

    I’m currently situated in Lagos, Nigeria and power outage is a constant nightmare! I use a 20kva diesel generator to power my home and I’m seriously considering an alternative power source… so is my wallet! Also, the impact of the pollution (noise, heat, CO2 emmision, vibrations, etc) from the generator is almost criminal, therefore, I’m in dire need of a permanent solution to the problem. So, are there any solar energy providers out there that are in close proximity to my location and what is the feasibility of getting it soonest?

  • Gord

    I would be interested to see how the energy available from the sun figure was calculated.The energy that is not reflected out to space and makes it through to the atmosphere is also responsible for our wind. So indirectly wind power is also solar power.We need to take advantage of renewable power where it is available and hopefully this lines up with where we need it or can use it.This applies to other sources such as geo-thermal, wave,or biomass.In order to replace the vast amount of energy that we demand without the use of fossil fuels such as coal which by the very nature of combustion produces carbon dioxide and other GHG’s. I guess my point is don’t rule out any renewable energy source that we can take advantage of. We are going to need it.

  • Just Watching

    To: Dapo Ojo

    I have been using solar power in my home in the U.S.A. more than 20 years so I know how to make it work. Be careful in what you buy in Nigeria and who you do business with. There is a lot of low cost equipment on the market that will not last or give good performance. Would you like more information?


  • chicken

    I strongly believe that solar is the best form of energy. It has no pollution and we will never run out. SOLAR IS AWESOME!

  • OmqqEhtszMe

    You guys need to read in between the lines this can almost help save the planet if we all pitch in to help maybe we can actually accomplish things. thanks for listening.

  • Pratiksha

    You guys need to read in between the lines this can almost help save the planet if we all pitch in to help maybe we can actually accomplish things. thanks for listening.

  • guy

    I hope our world use more solar panels because it is good for our environment. Yeah!!!!!!!!!!

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