Do you know the average amount of sunlight that hits the earth’s surface in an hour is more than enough to support the energy consumption of the entire world for a full year? That signifies the importance of solar energy and its value in the present energy world.
Solar technologies capture and convert sunlight that falls on the earth into electrical energy by adopting various methods. This energy can be stored in thermal storage or batteries and also used to generate electricity.
Solar Energy Generation
Solar energy can be harnessed mainly by three primary technologies. Photovoltaic technology, which is the most popular and widely implemented one where sunlight is directly converted into electricity; Concentrating solar power, where thermal energy is used to drive utility-scale, electric turbines; and lastly, Solar heating and cooling system, where thermal energy is collected to provide air heating or conditioning and hot water.
The basic flow of solar energy generation is, when sunlight heats the solar panels, an electric field will be created. Extracted electricity then flows to the edge of the panel into a conductive wire. The wire brings the electricity to the inverter where it is transformed from DC to AC. Another wire then transports this AC electricity to the electric panel on the property which distributes the electricity everywhere. The amount of electricity that is not needed flows through the utility meter into the electrical grid. When the electricity flows through the meter, the meter runs backward, crediting excess generation of energy.
In most parts of the world, photovoltaic technology is used to extract solar energy. However, the other two ways are also adopted more or less.
How Much Does It Cost?
It is true that in its infancy, solar energy cost a lot of money. But, with the gradual increase in solar panel efficiency, the cost has fallen substantially. Statistics from the last decades showed that in 10 years, the solar energy extraction cost has been reduced to nearly 60% and it is expected to be further less in the future.
Most of the time the cost depends on the place you live. The available facilities, energy generation process, and state laws related to incentives for using solar power can significantly affect the cost of solar energy. Yet, compared to most other energy sources, this is a great environment-friendly and worthwhile source of energy available out there.
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As a Renewable Power Source
The most exclusive feature of this energy is, it can be harnessed from everywhere in the world. Wherever sunlight falls upon the earth’s surface is a potential source of generating solar energy. It is an inexpensive, clean and renewable source of power.
Moreover, since this comes from the sun, it can be said as a limitless energy source compared with fossil fuels. It took thousands of years for coal, gas, and oil to form as a source of energy. Thus, consumption of them means moving marginally closer to depletion.
Solar energy along with other renewable energy sources like wind and hydropower, have infinite sources and don’t deplete the source. There will always be sunlight shining on the earth’s surface and so, we don’t need to worry about the source of energy.
Solar energy is gradually becoming popular in most parts of the world. It can easily take the place of traditional energy sources like fossil fuel with its immense potential and having unlimited energy generation sources.
With the present day’s technology, this will become more balanced and improved in near future and also the cost will reduce at a great rate. That day solar energy will fight with other sources to take on the major portion of power generation sources in the world for sure.