A Bright Future for Solar Energy: An Alternative Energy Source

The movie “Race the Sun” staring James Belushi and Halley Berry, has for the first time introduced me to Solar Energy. It was a story about low- income and under achieving Hawaiian students encouraged by their teacher to join the Solar Car race. In the movie, a car shaped like a cockroach and covered with solar panels used the sun’s rays as an alternative energy source to run the car.

Solar energy is the energy produced by sun’s light and heat. Solar energy is not only a free source of energy, but its also unlimited in supply. There are no harmful causes such as air and water pollution by using solar energy. But there is still some impacts on the environment although indirect.

The efficiency of sun’s heat energy used as solar power for homes can be maximized with the use of daylight systems. It is used to provide interior illumination replacing the artificial lighting. Daylight systems include sawtooth roofs, light shelf, skylights, and light tube. Daylight systems when they are properly implemented can reduce lighting-related energy consumption by 25 percent.

The conversion of solar energy into solar thermal technologies helps power for the purpose of heating water, space heating, space cooling and process heat generation. Solar energy can also be used to distil water and make saline or brackish water potable or drinkable.

Photovoltaics or PV is the method used to convert sunlight into electricity. PV has been mainly used to power small and medium-sized things like a calculator powered by a single solar cell. There are homes powered by photovoltaics. Using solar energy for water and space heating is the most widely use application of solar energy. While ventilation and solar air heating is also growing in popularity.

Solar energy efficiency with all its benefits has some limitations. In the absence of sun light, that is at night time this does not work. The cost of setting up solar stations is expensive, but the benefit of using solar energy when accumulated is so much more.

Posted under Build Your Own Solar Panels

This post was written by TKB-Editor on February 13, 2013

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