This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Solar Energy: The Ultimate Renewable Energy Resource

2890 words - 12 pages

The current use of fossil fuels as our main energy source has two drawbacks: their inevitable depletion and the pollution associated with combustion. These two drawbacks in addition to the growing concern of global warming has pushed for the development of more sustainable sources of energy, namely solar energy and its derivatives (i.e. wind power). Solar energy is appealing for its potential to meet all our demands, while proving to be a pollution free resource.(Bohn, 2009)

Solar energy originates from the thermonuclear fusion reactions occurring in the sun. Leaving all the byproducts of the reactions behind in the sun, the energy that reaches the Earth is pure radiant energy. This energy represents the entire electromagnetic spectrum, ranging from x-rays to radio waves. Most of the sun’s energy, forty-three percent, is in the form of visible light, which can be harnessed for electrical production. The amount of energy hitting the Earth is incredibly large; by one calculation, a month of sunshine has the equivalent energy of all the planet’s used and unused fossil fuels.(Huang, 2007) However, the nature of solar energy has two disadvantages. The sun does not shine consistently throughout the day due to clouds and other atmospheric factors, which can be problem for constant electricity and heat production. Moreover, solar energy cannot be used for nighttime production. The other shortcoming is that the energy from the sun is a diffuse source, that is, it falls over a wide area. In order to utilize this energy, it must be concentrated into a form and amount we can use, such as heat and electricity. These problems are addressed in the three steps used to harness the sun’s energy: collection, conversion, and storage.

The sun’s energy that reaches the Earth does not completely reach the ground where we can use. The clouds absorb 10% off the energy, while reflecting about 25%, and allow about 17% to pass through. The atmosphere absorbs 9%, reflects 9%, and transmits 6% of the solar energy. Twenty-four percent of the solar energy directly reaches the ground. Overall, about 47% (17+6+24) of the sun’s energy striking the Earth reaches the ground, where it is collectable by solar devices. These devices are used generally for two purposes: to heat water and/or living spaces and to produce electricity.

Solar energy is used to heat water for homes and buildings. Two methods used to accomplish this are the passive system, which has no moving parts and strictly relies on the convection currents, and an active system which uses pumps to move the liquid. In both systems, a solar device called a flat bed collector absorbs the sun’s energy to heat the water. The collector consists of a thin, broad box with a glass or clear plastic top and a black bottom with water tubes embedded in it. The black bottom allows for the maximum amount of heat absorption while the clear cover and interior insulation prevent heat loss. As...

Find Another Essay On Solar Energy: The Ultimate Renewable Energy Resource

Energy Resource: Natural Gas and Solar Energy

1574 words - 7 pages ) The top producer of energy from the sun belongs to Germany. Germany produces some 12% of the electricity it uses annually from the sun. Germany has an average of 1,738 hours of sunlight a year, working out to an average of just 4.8 hours each day. Solar energy has a positive political impact. (Shamah, 2010) The resource that I would like to conserve is natural gas. Natural gas will run out very soon if we don’t come up with new ways to

Renewable Energy (Solar and Hydro) Research Assignment

2624 words - 10 pages transmitted over a grid system like the energy produced by using fossil fuels. You can create just enough solar electricity to power your house or just enough hydroelectricity to power a small community. Solar energy depends upon the heat and light energy of the sun and is used to do more than just create electricity. Hydroelectric energy is a renewable energy source that depends upon the hydrologic cycle of water. Hydroelectric power is a very

Renewable Energy

1028 words - 4 pages created in the manufacturing and running of renewable energy plants. The renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies created 8.5 million new jobs and $970 billion in revenue in the year 2006 (Langwith, “Renewable Energy is Economically”). The American Solar Energy Society says by 2030 it could generate up to $4.5 trillion in revenue for the U.S and create 40 million new jobs. This would represent one in every four jobs (Langwith, “Renewable

Renewable Energy

870 words - 3 pages televised in April 18, 1977 that "Because we are now running out of gas and oil, we must prepare quickly for a third change, to strict conservation and to the use of coal and permanent renewable energy sources, like solar power." Slowly and gradually those fossil energies would reach their ends, because they are quite limited. When that time comes, it could mean a major catastrophe for our planet Earth. Efforts are being made to replace

Renewable Energy

1229 words - 5 pages unfriendly sources. Works Cited Broyles, Dave. What is Energy? Ottawa, Trafford Publishing, 2001. Print. Foland, Andrew Dean. Energy. New York, NY: Infobase Publishing, 2007. Print. Morgan, Jason. “Comparing Energy Costs of Nuclear, Coal, Gas, Wind and Solar.” Nuclearfissionary.com. Nuclear Fissionary, 2 Apr. 2010. Web. 9 Mar. 2012. Steven Shropshire and Terrence E. Young. Kinetic Energy: The Energy of Motion. Minneapolis, MN: Compass Point Books, 2008. Print. Twidell, John and Anthony D. Weir. Renewable Energy Resources. 2nd ed. New York, NY: Taylor & Francis, 2006. Print.

Renewable Energy - 1333 words

1333 words - 5 pages energy generated is dependent on unpredictable weather. On the other hand, biomass is a renewable resource that is worse than nonrenewable resources. Biomass fuel is cheap, but it requires an abundance of fuel. The amount of fuel is dependent on how much waste and crops we grow. Unfortunately, biomass has high pollution levels making it anti-environment friendly (Hudgins 391-93). A popular green source of energy is solar power. Solar power is a

Renewable Energy

642 words - 3 pages : they all have a major reason that could put them over the alternatives. Amid all the argument is one energy source that tops them all, but it may be a while before it's accepted as that. Within the world of energy, there are the extremely renewable and self sufficient sources. These include sources such as Solar and Wind. Both are very renewable and, once installed, need almost no maintenance. Where Solar takes up very little space, wind

Renewable Energy

1286 words - 5 pages results in increasing concentrations of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. These problems drive researchers and societies to search alternative energy such as switching to renewable energy or carbon-free energy to replace fossil fuels. For example Nakata et al., (2011:465) show ‘low-carbon society’ that is designed to use less fossil fuel. According to Verbruggen et al., (2010:852) define renewable energy ‘is obtained from the continuing or

Renewable Energy - 814 words

814 words - 3 pages intensive providing a wide range of employment opportunities, from high-tech manufacturing of solar cell components to maintains jobs at wind power plants. According to Wisconsin energy bureau ?Investment in locally available renewable energy generates more job, greater earnings, and higher output?.. then continued reliance on import fuel.? Due to the fact renewable energy uses natural resources such as wind, sun, and tidal wave which can be locally

Renewable Energy - 1466 words

1466 words - 6 pages offshore wind farms—The influence of travel time and wind farm attributes. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 15, 4223–4235. [15] Landry, C.E., Allen, T., Cherry, T., Whitehead, J.C., 2012. Wind turbines and coastal recreation demand. Resource and Energy Economics 34, 93–111. [16] McWilliam, M.K., van Kooten, G.C., Crawford, C., 2012. A method for optimizing the location of wind farms. Renewable Energy 48, 287–299. [17] Nikolaou Nikolaos, 2004

The Solar Energy Conflict

885 words - 4 pages Youssef 1Patrick YoussefMrs. WatsonHonors English14 May 2014The Solar Energy ConflictSolar energy has become an increasingly popular source of energy for home owners and for large businesses. Unlike the majority of other power sources, solar energy is entirely renewable and has low maintenance. Solar energy is a cost effective energy source leading to decreased energy bills, no by-products, and is entirely renewable. The reasons for the conflict

Similar Essays

Renewable Energy Resources: Solar Energy Essay

2194 words - 9 pages Solar energy is a fast growing energy resource among the renewable energy resources in the market and potential for solar power is huge to contribute towards the power demand almost in all the countries. The solar irradiation and temperature are mainly depends on the output power produced from the PV conversion process. Hence the maximum power point of PV array is tracked to maximize the efficiency of Photovoltaic system. Maximum power point

Renewable Energy: Solar Power Essay

1302 words - 6 pages Renewable energy is energy that can be used over and over again. It never runs out. It is also better for the environment. I think that renewable energy is definitely an option for South Africa in the near future. There are many different forms of renewable energy and I’ll talk about the forms of renewable energy which would be most suited in South Africa. Solar Power would probably be the most successful form of renewable energy in South Africa

Renewable Energy: Solar Power Essay

789 words - 4 pages doing their jobs. Solar panels aren’t the most energy efficient, but they generate an ample amount of photons to electrons. Solar energy is also a very renewable and abundant source of electrical energy because the sun shines almost every day and won’t stop shining until a couple billions years pass. It is also much more environment friendly compared to the polluting, yet cheap, fossil fuel. The reasons to use solar energy are numerous and solar

Energy Resource: Coal And Solar Energy

2271 words - 10 pages mining it and the fact that is not a renewable resource will make it necessary for other types of energy sources to be considered. One of these types is solar energy. Solar energy is one of the alternate energy sources that humans use. So what is solar energy? Solar energy comes from the sun. Unlike coal solar energy is a renewable resource. Solar energy is the cleanest source of energy. Solar energy is produced from not only the light of the sun but