Solar Technology Provides Untapped Potential

Since the beginning of man and earth, the sun has provided us with an abundant source of energy. A power source so great it has illuminated our planet for billions of years. Only in recent times has man been able to recognize how to integrate this to our lives.

Sadly, we are only using a diminutive amount compared to what is available to us. The main cause is the lack of technology we possess. We have known of its potential since early man was born but we are limited by the tools we have to harness this effectively. Definitely the apparatus that we use now have come a long way since the first discovery of this power source but we can do much better.

Part of this problem fall under the lack of motivation to fund more researches to get a move on its advancement. If we look at the time line of solar power development we will see that the most progress we achieve happens in times where existing energy sources are at a minimum. During the oil crisis of 1973, it spawned progress with solar panels which brought the price down from $100/watt to $7/watt. Then early 20th century when petroleum and coal availability increased the development of this renewable energy technology stagnated. The maturity of solar technology should not be halted or slowed down by our false belief that petroleum, coal or any other existing non-renewable energy sources would never run out.

Nowadays, we are faced with the consequences of using too much non-renewable power sources. Greenhouse gasses are exponentially increasing causing problems we have been experiencing. Using sunlight power is clean, efficient and we have unlimited supply that is free. Making renewable energy part of our lives will decrease the necessity to use up the limited resources that we have. Petroleum products are a thing of the past, we should learn to move on and evolve faster.

The sunlight that we received can be used in different ways. It can be used indirectly by concentrating sunlight to get heat energy to fuel heat engines which in turn give us electric energy to be used at home. We can also solar energy actively and directly by using solar panels or photovoltaics (PV). Photovoltaics convert daylight to electricity. PVs can also be used passively harnessing sunbeams and using heat to warm up homes, for hot water, distillation and a lot more.

The number of application we have in use are meager in contrast to the available raw energy. A good example is the biggest solar power plant in the Mojave Desert of California. It produces a lot of power with no earth-harming emissions. Another is the Sarina Photovoltaic Powerplant in Canada. It is 80 MW strong and the biggest PV plant today.

There is a lot more room for growth for solar power. Some experimental fields being explored are concentrated photovoltaics, thermoelectric and space-based solar power. With so many alternative concepts and so much we can improve on the existing solar technology, it is only human ingenuity that is holding us back.

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Posted under Renewable Energy

This post was written by assistant on November 17, 2010

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