Solar Energy

Of the few good things that humankind has done in the last century, Solar energy stands out! This green, renewable and sustainable form of energy is the answer to many dire questions we earth-dwellers face, including global warming, increased pollution, poor air quality, depleting energy resources, and our carbon footprint.

Sun the powerhouse of energy: how is it converted into a usable form:

Sun radiates immense heat and light. The solar energy that is incident on Earth has to be collected, converted, and stored to be used. Solar energy, which is electromagnetic radiation, is converted into thermal and electrical energy with the help of special apparatus.

Conversion Of Solar Energy Into Thermal Energy

To convert solar energy into thermal energy, flat plate collectors and solar ovens are used. Solar ponds are also used to capture and convert solar energy into thermal and electrical energy.

Conversion Of Solar Energy Into Electrical Energy

Solar Energy can be converted into electrical energy in two ways. One is with the help of photovoltaic devices (also called solar cells), and two, with solar power plants. The PV devices are made up of silicon and convert solar energy into electrical energy directly. The solar panels you see on terraces and roofs are photovoltaic devices.

The solar power plants store the sun’s heat incident on mirrors in their apparatus. This heat is captured into liquids that are good holders of thermal energy. These liquids become steam due to heat and powers the turbines installed in its pathway. The mechanical energy of turbines is finally converted into electricity by a device called the alternator.

Why Are We Telling You About Solar Energy?

Solar Energy is a renewable form of energy.

Renewable energy is derived from natural sources like the sun, wind, water, tides. These sources are abundant, in fact, inexhaustible as they are replenished again and again. Moreover, they do not emit gases or carbon particles that harm the environment and climate. Therefore, they do not abuse the Earth or its inhabitants.

Contrary to this, fossil fuels (like oil, coal, natural gas) are finite, and we will soon (in a few decades) exhaust all of them. They pollute the air with carbon emissions, degrade the land, making it unworthy of habitation for humans and wildlife, and pollute water. Their pollution has led to global warming and disturbed ecosystem.

Solar Energy is a renewable and inexpensive solution to the problems caused by non-renewable sources.

Let’s Look At The Advantages Of Solar Energy:

  • It is an inexhaustible and natural source.
  • Once the apparatus is installed, the energy is free of cost. It is low maintenance.
  • It is eco-friendly- does not cause air or water pollution.
  • It can cut your electricity bill minimal or zero. You can even sell the surplus energy produced by your solar panels.

Disadvantages

  • Solar panels are expensive to install, and they also need space. But in the long run, the elevator bill you save upon every month will make up for the installation cost!
  • Solar power plants need colossal space to capture optimum sunlight. The thermal or hydropower stations can produce enormous power in a given area compared to the power generated by the solar power station.
  • The generation of energy depends on the availability of sunlight which fluctuates through seasons and even within a day. Unfortunately, all geographies do not have a high level of incident rays consistently throughout the year.
  • Solar energy needs to be stored in batteries. Unfortunately, these batteries are expensive, occupy space, may suffer wear and tear, and ultimately they are not renewable.

If we weigh the benefits solar energy offers, they overwhelm the disadvantages. The most significant gift we can give to our future generations is a ‘livable’ planet. Renewable energy is the way to sustain and protect the Earth.

Let the light shine on our lives!

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