Solar Energy As A Renewable Energy

Solar Energy As A Renewable Energy – Solar radiation is fundamental to life on Earth, providing a continuous supply of energy that powers nearly every ecosystem on the planet. In addition to enabling our existence, energy from the sun has attracted attention for decades as a clean, renewable alternative to fossil fuels. Although it currently supplies only a fraction of the world’s energy, the solar industry is a rapidly growing component of the renewable energy sector. While the debate over the cost, practicality and efficiency of industrial solar devices certainly continues, the technology offers great promise as a sustainable energy source.

The Sun produces energy through thermonuclear fusion in its core; this energy is released from the star as neutrinos and electromagnetic or solar radiation. After traveling for about 8 minutes across 150 million kilometers (93,000,000 miles) of space, about half a billionth of the solar radiation produced by the Sun reaches Earth. The atmosphere reflects about 29 percent of this incoming energy and absorbs about 23 percent. About 48 percent of them reach the Earth’s surface. Photosynthetic organisms such as green plants use this energy to produce carbohydrates from carbon and water. This process converts the sun’s radiation into a form that can be used by other living things.

Solar Energy As A Renewable Energy

Modern solar energy technology is divided into passive and active categories. Passive solar harnesses the heat or light of the sun directly, as in a building designed to provide natural light. Active solar technology includes photovoltaic and solar thermal systems. A photovoltaic device produces electricity from sunlight using a semiconductor, a material that produces an electrical charge when the sun’s photons excite electrons. Solar thermal energy systems concentrate and direct the sun’s heat either to heat the home or to power steam-powered electric generators on an industrial scale. On a broader level, solar radiation is also the main driver for many other energy sources. For example, the remains of organisms powered by sunlight are composed of coal and hydrocarbons, and differential solar heating of the planet helps stimulate currents of air and water powered by wind and wave energy.

Green And Renewable Energy: Not So Fast?

Burning fossil fuels introduces greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere. These gases are so-called because they absorb outgoing long-wave radiation from the planet and are thought to increase global temperatures – a process somewhat similar to the function of a greenhouse. The use of solar energy does not cause greenhouse gas emissions, although emissions may come from the production and installation of solar energy technology. A 2014 assessment published by the International Energy Agency found that solar and thermal energy systems could potentially represent the world’s largest source of electricity by 2050. The agency calculated that this scenario could prevent more than 6 billion tons of annual carbon dioxide emissions. year.

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Compared to fossil fuel supplies, which are limited on the human time scale, solar radiation is a renewable resource of extraordinary magnitude. As the IEA noted in a 2011 report, “solar energy is the largest source of energy on Earth—and it’s inexhaustible.” The amount of solar energy that the Earth receives in a year exceeds the energy that has been obtained from oil, natural gas, coal and nuclear sources in human history. The amount of energy received by the planet in one hour is greater than the annual energy consumption of the entire world. Because solar farms can be so widely dispersed and are made up of many separate units, they are better protected against disruptive events such as storms, which can knock out power to a large number of residents by damaging just one generator or substation in a centralized power grid. . And because many solar technologies use less water than fossil fuels or nuclear power plants, they can also be more drought-resistant.

Solar energy is highly modular – made up of many individual installations that can be linked together – and can be implemented at many scales, from distributed generation to rooftop solar panels to a utility-scale thermal power plant. As of 2014, a large-scale thermal power plant in California, the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, is the largest concentrated power plant in the world. It has a peak capacity—not to be confused with actual production figures—of 393 megawatts, or enough electricity to power 94,400 average American households. Once installed, solar technology is also low maintenance. However, highly localized solar power setups can work well in rural or developing areas where grid power is unavailable, unreliable, or very expensive.

Active solar technology, such as Ivanpah generators, typically requires a significant initial investment, but operating costs are low, and the fuel—light and heat from the sun—is free. With technological improvements, expanding markets and government subsidies and incentives, the cost of solar technology has decreased in recent years. In 2014, the US Department of Energy noted that solar panel prices had fallen by 50 percent over the past three years. Compared to the volatile price swings typical of fossil fuels – stemming from political tensions, disputes and other regional factors – solar power offers the potential for more stable energy costs, benefiting both consumers and utilities. In addition, homes or businesses in remote locations that face high costs of obtaining energy from the centralized grid can save money by going off-grid with small solar installations.

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Renewable Energy. Solar Energy. Green Energy. Infographics. Stock Vector

Renewable energy sources are generally considered more labor intensive than the fossil fuel sector and thus can support more jobs per unit of energy produced. According to the Solar Foundation’s 2013 National Census of Solar Industry Jobs, more than 142,000 people worked in the U.S. solar industry in 2013—an increase of about 20 percent from 2011. A 2009 analysis by the Union of Concerned Scientists found that that there are US states to generate at least 25 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2025, the effort could result in more than three times the number of new jobs that would be created by relying only on fossil fuels for equivalent production.

In addition to the release of greenhouse gases, the burning of fossil fuels can pollute air and water and negatively affect human health locally and regionally. The Union of Concerned Scientists estimates the economic impact of such health problems in the US at between $361.7 billion and $886.5 billion. On the other hand, solar energy does not pollute. The technology can also reduce noise pollution associated with energy production; Solar devices are essentially silent. They are considered safe for humans and are unlikely to produce dangerous amounts of radiation. Solar energy can also be used to treat or purify drinking water, an important public health benefit in developing countries.

Compared to other potential energy sources, sunlight is a universally available resource, although of course it varies geographically and seasonally in quantity and intensity. Tapping into such potentially productive domestic energy supply can reduce the country’s dependence on foreign energy sources. In addition, just as a distributed energy system is better protected against natural disasters, it is also less vulnerable to terrorist attacks than a centralized power grid.

Ethan Shaw is an independent naturalist and freelance nature/science writer based in Oregon. He holds a B.S. in Wildlife Ecology and a G.I.S. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His main interests, both from a fieldwork and writing perspective, include landscape ecology, geomorphology, ecosystem classification, biogeography, wildlife-habitat relationships, and historical ecology. He has written for various media outlets, including Earth Touch News, RootsRated, Backpacker,, and Atlas Obscura, and is currently producing a field guide. Go to What is renewable energy? Types of renewable energy Other alternative energy sources Renewable energy in the home Wind turbines and a large solar panel in Palm Springs, California Vanja Terzic/iStock Renewable energy is booming as innovation lowers costs and begins to realize the promise of a clean energy future. America’s solar and wind generation is breaking records and being integrated into the national electric grid without compromising reliability. This means that renewable energy sources are increasingly displacing “dirty” fossil fuels in the electricity sector and offer the advantage of lower carbon emissions and other types of pollution. However, not all energy sources marketed as “renewable” are good for the environment. Biomass and large hydroelectric dams create difficult trade-offs when dealing with impacts on wildlife, climate change and other issues. Here’s what you should know about the different types of renewable energy sources—and how you can use these new technologies in your home. What is renewable energy? Renewable energy, often called clean energy, comes from natural sources or processes that are constantly renewed. For example, sunlight and wind continue to shine and blow, although their availability depends on time and weather. While renewable energy is often considered a new technology, harnessing the power of nature has long been used for heating, transportation, lighting and more. The wind powered boats to sail the sea and windmills to grind grain. The sun provided warmth during the day and helped light a fire that lasted until the evening. But over the past 500 years or so, people have increasingly turned to cheaper and dirtier energy sources like coal and fracked gas.

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What Is Renewable Energy?

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