Curiosity and desire have led man to the peak of material progress. Discontent has always prompted him to change his environments and living conditions. Change is fundamental law of life for no change no progress. The more the peoples of the world have tried to change and ameliorate and better their lot, the more they succeed. The magic wand behind the spectacular and sustained progress has been the scientific technology. When we survey the achievements of men in their historical perspective; we get a clear idea about technological development from the earliest days from simple to sophisticated.
The Present era is the era where energy is the basic resource which is essential for living. The present age can easily be termed as Fossil Fuel Age (Hogan,1982) because 93% of the total world’s energy comprised of oil, coal and natural gas, this is surprising because only a century and a half ago the figures were reverse. Fossil fuel provides only 5% of energy while the animals and humans supplied 94% of it (Grubb et. al., 2006).
This extensive usage of fossil fuel seriously endangers the environment of our planet. Everyone is desperately trying to devise such energy resources that can not only save the planet from plunging deep into the pit of destruction and catastrophe but also will be more feasible economically.
It has been discovered that United States of America, whose population is just 6% of the total population of the world, consumes almost one third of world’s total energy resources (Reddy et. al., 1989). However, Energy resources are not infinite. In fact we are consuming the energy with such a pace that it has been estimated that world would be facing energy crisis after 2030.
Significant progress has been made all over the world for making use of renewable energy resources which do not undergo exhaustion and which are economically more feasible.
Renewable Energy Resources and their Limitations:
It is commonly believed that world can fulfill easily through renewable sources of energy if the present energy resources are consumed completely. This is not true. It is estimated that renewable energy resources like wood fuel, farm wastes, solar heat etc. would be able to fulfill only 7 to 15% of the world’s energy requirements. The remaining resources i.e. wind and water power can only fulfill a very small percentage of energy needs while for solar energy, expensive infrastructure is required.
As far as the solar energy and its usage are concerned, one major area is installation of photovoltaic solar panels, which will cost more than a consumer, can save in the form of electricity tariffs. However, a collaborative research that was conducted by the professors of University of Ferrara and Bologna revealed that the use of domestic solar PV panels can save up to 2000 kWh per square meter of energy and can work effectively for a period of 20 years.
The following table gives a cost comparison of different energy resources.