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Australian Solar Energy Essay

1346 words - 6 pages

The world has been quickly draining its own natural resources for the past few decades due to the rapid growth of the population and the development of formerly undeveloped countries. It is estimated that by the year 2005, that the energy demand will be increase another 50%. (Eco-Info) In 2009, it was estimated that within the next hundred years, all of the earth’s resources like coal, oil, and natural gas will be completely exhausted. (Eco-Info) Along with the depletion of these resources, many companies that harvest oil, natural gas, and coal are destroying the ecosystems and environments around them. People are slowly beginning to realize that there needs to be a change in the way we use ...view middle of the document...

(energy.gov) Solar water heating, passive solar design, and solar photovoltaics are the most commonly used solar technologies. Solar water heating systems consist of a storage tank and a solar collector. The solar collector, usually mounted on a roof, is a flat rectangular box that faces the sun. Small tubes run through the box which carry water to be heated. They are then attached to a storage tank, which carries the hot water throughout the building. (NREL) Passive solar designs take advantage of a building’s climate, materials and location. It absorbs the heat from the sun as it shines through windows, and then stores the heat, also known as thermal mass. This heat is then circulated throughout the house by conduction, convection, and radiation. (Energy.gov) The cells that contain the energy from the sun are called photovoltaic cells. Their name originates from the process of converting photons (commonly known as light) to voltage (electricity), which is called the PV effect. (NREL) Solar photovoltaic systems directly absorb solar energy, while the other methods convert the energy. Photovoltaic systems are solar cells, which use layers of semiconductor materials (similar to ones used in computer chips). When the energy is absorbed, the electrons are cut loose from their atoms and they flow through the system and create electricity. (SEDP) Solar arrays are a group of 40 solar cells interconnected to form a single large system, called a CPV dish. (SEDP)
Solar energy is extremely beneficial to both consumers and businesses, as well as the environment. Solar energy is a renewable resource, unlike other resources that are being used like coal, natural gas, and oil. In 2009, it was estimated that coal, natural gas, and oil reserves will be completely exhausted within the next 100 years. (Eco-Info) Solar energy will always be there as a reliable resource. Furthermore, there are no negative effects to harvesting solar energy on the environment. With harvesting these other energy resources, it can cause damage to the environment. In order to harvest natural gas, companies use the method “fracking”, which is the process of drilling into the ground at a high pressure in order to break rocks that would release the natural gas inside. (NRDC) This is extremely dangerous because many of the natural gas reservoirs are located next to fresh water reservoirs. What happens often is when the companies are drilling, they drill partly into the pocket of fresh water, and contaminate the water supply. This can have disastrous effects, because now people cannot use that water and it contaminates the surrounding wildlife. (NRDC) With solar energy, installations go on top of roofs and require little to no maintenance after being installed.
The solar energy initiative in Australia started in 2001, and has since been increasing in popularity as well as efficiency. It is estimated that between 2001 and 2010 the market for PV solar installations was modest, at around 15%...

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