Importance of Solar Energy
Document Type:Research Paper
Energy has continued to evolve from simple to sophisticated forms since its invention. There are various forms of energy, and they are named according to their sources. The forms of energy are grouped into renewable and non-renewable categories. Renewable sources of energy are said to be inexhaustible while the reverse is the case for non-renewable sources of energy. The renewable sources include; hydropower, geothermal, wind and solar. The capture and transformation of the energy are done by a solar panel. Some science behind the energy potential of the sun reveals that it is a natural nuclear reactor and that it releases tiny packets of energy which are called photons. The photons have the potential of traveling from the sun to the earth, a distance of 93 million miles, in just 8.
5 seconds. In fact, every hour, the sun produces energy that is capable of satisfying the earth for a whole year. The DC electricity is then turned to AC electricity by a solar inverter("How Does Solar Energy Work | SunPower Solar Blog", 2018). The solar inverters are regarded the brains of the solar energy system. Aside from the conversion, the solar inverters also protect the system from faults. From the invention of solar energy, central inverters have been predominantly used, but in the recent past, micro-inverters have been invented and introduced to the system. The advantage of the micro-inverters is that they optimize individual solar panels and not the whole system, thus enabling each panel to perform to the maximum of its potential.
The Energy Information Administration (EIA) says that there was a solar capacity of 8,379MW of solar energy as at 2015 against a solar generation of 12,141 million KW("Solar - IER", 2018). The efforts to increase the production of solar energy have faced several challenges. The greatest impediment to production of solar power is the availability of the source. The solar radiation is rarely constant and is dependent on other atmospheric conditions such as clouds and rain, not to mention the ever-changing position of the sun. Also, the solar energy that heats the earth is relatively weaker than that which leaves the sun due to the protective atmospheric layer that covers the earth from the sun's intensity. In the last decade or so, the costs of solar energy have significantly increased while the usage has increased steadily.
The International Energy Agency estimates that in the next 30 years, solar energy will account for 16% of the global energy consumption which will be a significant increase from the current 1%("Solar Power to Look Even More Promising for the Future", 2018). The increase according to analysts is however dependent on the governments' commitment to the course through the reviewing of policies concerning solar energy. The increase in the consumption of solar energy seen in the recent past has been made possible by government support through subsidies. The notion that solar energy can only succeed through government support is however slowly getting eroded since it has been seen that in places where the sun is very strong, solar energy is far much cheaper than fossil fuels energy even without the subsidies.
What is the importance of solar energy over other forms of energy? Having laid bare the facts about solar energy, this paper provides the reasons why the world should start thinking the solar energy way. To start with, solar energy is reliable since the sun can provide steady and consistent solar power throughout the year. It is a no-brainer that going forward, renewable sources of energy should be embraced. However, solar energy has some advantages over other forms of renewable sources the main one being that it can be installed both in homes and businesses since it does not require a huge set up as is the case with wind power and geothermal sources of energy. Solar energy is beneficial both to the environment and also to the consumers("The Importance of Solar Energy - Venture Solar", 2018).
By installing solar panels in homes, the solar energy takes up the electricity tasks at home and therefore a consumer no longer has to pay for electricity. This is unlike other forms of renewable energy such as wind where an individual cannot solely install such a system in their home. Also, a solar energy system requires very little if any maintenance. Even if the cost of installing a solar energy system in a home can be high, the benefits that accompany it are worth the cost. The solar panels will constantly produce sufficient energy and will not require a lot of maintenance. Of the 200 people to whom the questionnaire was administered, about 65% cried foul of the fact that the current forms of energy used are both expensive and unsustainable.
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