The main problem to mankind is how to harvest various sources of energy for constructive ends and also be sound on economical terms. In recent past, there has been a growth in its application and interest due to effects of fuel and atoms to the environment. Examples of these alternative resources are wind power, solar, geothermal and tides. Due to the changing and growing needs for energy and its effects on the environment, alternatives have been identified as renewable sources which have less negative effects to the environment.
Solar Energy; the Alternative Energy Source
Solar energy is the energy that is collected from the sun. Usually the sun creates its energy from thermonuclear process. That converts approximately 650 million tonnes of hydrogen gas to helium. This process creates electromagnetic radiation and heat. The electromagnetic part then streams out and is collected in the form of solar energy. The electromagnetic energy that is produced contains infrared light, visible light and ultraviolet radiation. For a generator to fully function requires a storage unit and a collector. The collector just collects radiation that falls on it in the form of energy. The storage unit stores the energy because it is not produced all day long. There are various means of solar energy collection; focusing collectors, flat plate collectors and passive collectors. (Daniel, 2006)
The positive effects of solar energy are viewed by many people in different ways. Their applications are diverse. Some of the positive effects so far include:
After taking care of the initial cost and investment of the installation of the solar system, the continuous usage of the energy is practically free since it is derived from the sun. Depending on the amount of the monthly usage of power the payback period can be short. This means that maybe the use of electricity in-home or place of work is high and bills are also high, then the use of solar energy will save a lot on bills. Sometimes the government assists in its development through financial incentives that will really reduce the end-term costs. This includes a wave on some government taxes.
The production of large amount of the solar energy can be a way of income. For example when the production of solar energy is higher than the demands, the surplus can be used by utility companies. This means that the owner of the solar system can have additional income. From this, it is a means of earning income and sometimes it is a proposal for large-scale production of energy. This is usually termed as the net metering.
It doesn’t require other means of fuel for it operation possibilities. This means it doesn’t require such things as fuel. Hence, the problems that are associated with the frequent change and demand-supply scenario of fuel will not have any negative effects to the solar energy. Underlying cost such as that of delivery and many cable lines for electricity is not required since it is produced where it is required. (Richard, 2004)
Solar energy is a renewable source of energy unlike the other means such as the oil, gas and coal. It is also clean and can’t pollute the environment. This means that it will help in sustainability of the environment and also assists in protecting the same environment. It doesn’t produce pollutants that can be harmful to our environment. Usually gas, coal and oil produce nitrogen oxide, carbon dioxide, mercury and sulphur dioxide into the environment. These gases may cause acidic rainfall e.g. combination of sulphur dioxide with rain water will cause a weak form of sulphuric acid, while carbon dioxide will contribute to smog. The reduction of such gases will reduce the rate of global warming. It also reduces the amount of harmful gases such as harmful green house gas.
Due to the fact that fuel is not associated in the production of solar energy means that the problems that are related to cost of transportation of the fuel and the storage and disposing of the raw materials that are associated with other means are not required. This then reduces the additional costs that could have increased the production cost.
Solar energy can be used to assist in the utilization of other problems that are associated with the utility supplied energy. This then leads to the reduction on the amount of the electricity bill that is to be paid. Solar can also be used as power backup when electro power is off. (Daniel, 2006)
They usually operate independently; therefore there is no need for power grids as for electricity or connectivity to the gas station. This means that its installation can be applied to remote parts e.g. holiday log cabins where grids are not required. Hence, reduces the costs that are associated with transportation of energy.
They shield the users from areas that are dependent on foreign energy or centralized sources e.g. fuel. It therefore means that if there is a problem with the international or natural disasters the solar energy will shield the users in terms of energy. They also help in the improvement and creation of local employment which translates to creation of wealth, hence sustainability of local economies.
They are cheap to maintain. But it will last for decades without other problems that are associated with break down or any technological problems. After the installation, there will be no recurring cost. This is because there will be no frequent addition of fuel or supportive energy hence no time wastage. (Peter, 2003)
They are usually silent and are stable, i.e. neither moving parts, nor release of bad smells. Its scalability is easy since the addition of other solar panels is easy. The additional panels will just be required not like the electricity where grids will be required or pipes in terms of gases.
In those areas where water is scarce a method called desalination to obtain fresh and drinkable water is used. In this method the contaminated water that contains a lot of salt is left in the open and the brine will evaporate and crystals are then left at the bottom of the bucket. The water then flows through available pipes into another basin where it will condense and it will become fresh and drinkable.
The application of the solar energy can be best defined in its relation to other forms of energy. Heating is a method that is best suited to the solar energy. This is because the solar energy doesn’t require any means of energy transformation hence a high efficiency. This heat energy can be stored in various forms such as in liquids or packed beds. A packed bed is a collection of various materials that have small air spaces that can store energy. This energy can also be stored in phase changers or fusion units. This means that the heating of water in the daytime and later used at those periods that there is no solar energy production e.g. at night seems to show that the power is applied to both times and conditions. (Tiwari, 2002)
The reason that a lot of people don’t use the solar energy is that they don’t know what the energy offers. They don’t know and understand how a large segment of applications are suitable to a small home environment with just the use of solar energy. Solar energy can be installed to utilize portable machines while complex ones are utilized in the factories this may be in the form of grid or a stand-alone format. Its wide range of applications and use and the renewable part make it an important alternative energy source.
The improvement in photovoltaic is expected to produce large scale of energy. Its main technological strengths include deploying ability, environmental friendliness, its modularity and running cost. From past experiences of space programs in 1960’s it has shown its capability in terms of durability and reliability. (Daniel, 2006)
The production cost of photovoltaic which continues to decrease in terms of costs will make the prices decrease which will lead to an increase in production of solar energy plants.
With the help of the solar energy the environment will look friendlier and global warming will drastically reduce. International distortions will not affect any economy that uses solar energy as a means of energy.
Works Cited Source
Daniel D. The Homeowners Guide to Renewable Energy: Achieving Energy New York: New Society Publishers, 2006.
James, K Solar Energy and Implications to Environment London: Cambridge University Publishers Ltd. 2006.
Peter, K. Application of Solar Energy London : Oxford University Press 2004.
Richard, M Alternative Energies New York: New Society Publishers 2003.
Tiwari, G. Solar Energy: Fundamentals, Design, Modeling and Applications New York: Alpha Science International Ltd. 2002.