It was recently reported that over 70% of the Earth’s surface is covered by water. The majority of the world’s population lives in cities and relies on water from distant regions for their survival. The demand for fresh water is increasing as the population soars and agricultural practices change. As a result, the search for sustainable and renewable energy sources is at the forefront of everyone’s minds. One option is to harvest the energy of the sun. As the world’s largest terrestrial body, the sun provides an incalculable amount of energy. However, most people do not have the luxury of being able to access this energy directly. This is where solar energy comes in. The process of solar energy collection is different from conventional energy collection techniques, as it does not use conventional energy sources such as fossil fuels or nuclear power.
How Does Solar Energy Work?
Conventional forms of energy, such as fossil fuels and nuclear power, release energy as heat, which can be converted into usable electricity. However, solar energy is different as it is not emitted as a by-product of any conventional process, but is instead directly extracted from the environment and stored directly in a battery. The four steps involved in capturing solar energy are:
Step one: Solar energy collection.
This is the process of directly converting the energy of the sun into a usable form. This process takes place through the use of specialized materials called photovoltaics or solar cells. Solar cells are electronic devices which are able to convert the electromagnetic radiation (light) into an electrical current. Photovoltaic cells, which are typically used for solar cell applications, are made of semiconductor materials such as silicon or cadmium telluride (a form of silicon).
Many different technologies can be used to collect solar energy, including solar thermal energy, which involves the use of heat-collecting devices such as solar heat panels or thermal power plants, and solar photovoltaic systems, which use solar cells to generate electricity. The amount of energy which can be collected by any one technology depends on the environment, intensity of sunlight, and type of soil, among other factors.
Step two: Conversion.
Once the solar energy has been collected, another step is required to change it into a usable form. In the case of solar photovoltaic systems, this involves connecting the solar cells in series to form a solar module, and then placing the modules in a solar panel. The solar modules need to be connected in a certain manner to maximize the amount of electricity generated by the panel. This process is called “stringing” the modules. Once the solar panel is connected to a battery, it becomes possible to store the excess electricity for later use. Batteries come in many different forms, but most operate based on the same basic principles. The most common types of batteries are either non-rechargeable or rechargeable. Non-rechargeable batteries are often referred to as “one-time use” or “throw-away” batteries. Rechargeable batteries are either NiCad or NiMH types, which can be recharged and used over and over again.
Step three: Storage.
Once the electricity has been stored, a final step is required to store it for later use. When electricity is generated directly from renewable resources such as the sun, there is no chance of running out of it as long as the environment provides sufficient sunlight. In the case of solar photovoltaic systems, this usually means storing the electricity in a battery, as discussed previously. In the case of other types of energy harvesting technologies, such as solar thermal energy systems or wind turbine power plants, the stored energy needs to be converted back into a usable form as it can be depleted during daylight hours. The easiest way to store solar energy is in a fuel tank, which can be located either at the power plant or on location at the end user’s premises.
Step four: Distribution.
Once the electricity has been stored, another step is required to distribute it to where it is needed. In the case of solar photovoltaic systems, this usually involves employing the use of wires to connect the individual solar cells to an electricity panel which can be directly connected to an electrical grid. Alternatively, solar thermal energy systems or wind turbine power plants require a device which can convert the electrical energy into usable thermal energy, such as a heat exchanger. When the electricity generated by solar energy technologies is connected to the electrical grid, it is distributed to nearby electricity consumers via switches, meters, and distribution boxes.
Overall, solar energy collection and storage technologies can be a viable option for powering electrical devices. They are particularly beneficial in regions which experience a lot of sun and/or high temperatures, as these conditions enable the generation of much higher amounts of energy. Furthermore, the fact that these technologies do not emit carbon dioxide makes them more environmentally friendly.
Why Is Solar Energy Popular?
The need for environmentally friendly and sustainable energy sources is becoming a major concern throughout the world. The search for alternative and renewable energy sources has become so popular that entire industries have been created around meeting this need. Industries such as biogas, hydrogen, and solar power have completely transformed the way energy is produced and consumed throughout the world. Due to its many advantages, solar energy has become a popular option.
More About Solar Energy.
As previously discussed, solar energy is not produced as a by-product of any other process. It is directly extracted from the environment through the use of photovoltaic cells. This, in turn, allows for more energy to be produced than is needed for direct human consumption. In addition, solar energy collection does not require any fossil fuels or nuclear power, meaning that it reduces the amount of carbon dioxide and other types of dangerous emissions produced by conventional forms of energy. The amount of solar energy available throughout the year depends on several factors, including the time of day and location of the sun. However, depending on the design of the solar cell, it is generally possible to generate energy at levels higher than is needed for direct human consumption.
Many different organizations and government agencies support and promote solar energy collection and use. For example, the United Nations has established an energy wing which supports the development of cleaner and more efficient energy technologies. Notable supporters include the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Energy Innovation Foundation. Many cities and regions have also established policies and programs designed to encourage the use of solar energy. For example, the city of Boulder in Colorado, USA has a solar energy program which offers financial incentives to businesses and homeowners who install solar panels on their roofs.
Although solar energy collection and storage technologies are becoming more viable each day with the development of new and more efficient solar cells, the process is still very expensive and requires a lot of upfront capital expenditure. Furthermore, not all regions and climate types are suitable for solar energy farming, and those which are may not produce enough energy to cover the costs of installation and operation. Thus, while this type of energy is very beneficial to areas which experience sufficient sunlight, it is still not a complete solution.
It should be noted that while solar energy is not produced as a by-product of any other process, it is still produced on a large scale through the use of fossil fuels, such as coal and oil. The key difference is that these fossil fuels are only required to extract the energy from the sun and do not contribute to the generation of the solar energy itself. The energy produced by solar cells is, therefore, considered to be sustainable as it does not rely on fossil fuels or nuclear power to generate it.
A variety of factors contribute to the increasing popularity of solar energy as an option for generating electricity. This includes its ability to cover a lot of areas which have had no previous access to electricity, as well as be produced at levels high enough to power entire homes. Furthermore, in countries where electricity is already readily available, individuals and businesses are seeking ways to use sustainable and renewable energy sources. As a result, industries and governments are now promoting solar energy collection and storage technologies as a way of providing cheaper, cleaner, and more sustainable energy alternatives.