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A New Energy Source: Green Initiative

1334 words - 5 pages

Fossil fuels are organic material such as coal, petroleum, and natural gas. They have been the most used energy source since the industrial boom in the early eighteenth century. For the past two centuries, fossil fuels have dominated the energy business, providing for nearly all of the worlds energy; however, they are a limited resource that can cause irreversible harm to the environment. The Environmental Protection Agency [EPA] states that fossil fuels were “responsible for 79 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in 2010”. Greenhouse gases are gases that get trapped in the Earth’s atmosphere and surround the sun as well as greatly heating up the planet. These gases lead to global warming, which results in possible catastrophic changes to the earth’s climate. (Carbon Dioxide Emissions).We are all in danger from fossil fuels, they are not only dangerous to the planet, but they are also non renewable; they can only accumulate after millions of years of lying in the earth’s crust. The increasing problems are leading to nations searching for a positive alternatives. Through this searching, scientist have discovered a powerhouse of renewable energy that is safe and has almost limitless potential: the sun. In the future, solar energy could be a widely used resource and could possibly get the globe onto a path with cleaner energy. Some scientists see solar technology as being a new hope, as this “clean energy resource represents a viable alternative to the fossil fuels that currently pollute our air and water, [and] threaten our public health,” (How Solar Electricity Systems Works).
The Sun is the most important thing in our lives. In fact, nearly 4.3 x 1020 joules of sunlight hit the Earth in one hour; a power so intense that it could satisfy the entire globe’s need for energy for an entire year. (Parrison). Countries are starting to realize the potential of solar energy; for example, Germany, Spain and Japan are emerging as leaders in the solar industry. In 2012, the world as a whole installed 130 gigawatts of solar polar capacity, 80 gigawatts coming from Europe, of which 35 gigawatts is in Germany alone (Powers). Germany, next to Japan, is one of the world leaders in solar power and envisions shutting down all of their nuclear power plants by 2020 and shifting internally to solar and wind power by 2050 (Eddy).
There are two types of solar technologies, active and passive. Many people are already familiar with solar panels, which is one type of active power. In an active solar technology, the energy from sunlight is directly making electricity. Solar panel cells are conductors, when sunlight hits them, it makes the electrons travel like current that creates electricity. Passive solar technology stores the suns energy, saving it to generate electricity on a cloudy day (How Solar Energy Works). On the other hand, Arizona is taking big steps in the solar industry by establishing a new passive solar project called Solana, which focuses on...

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