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Alternate Energy Sources: An Analysis

Keywords: solar power essay, solar energy essay

Due to the predicted shortage of fossil fuels and other non-renewable energy options, research is currently taking a look at alternatives. These alternatives are known as green energy. Renewable energy effectively uses natural resources such as sunlight, wind flow, rainwater, tides and geothermal heat, which can be effortlessly replenished. If the utilization of renewable energy isn't explored for future use, we may be living without devices we neglect today. For example, consider a winter without a water heater and a summer time without air-conditioning, and day-to-day life without tvs, cars, washers, even lights. The planet earth could get to a level where it was so greatly scarred from people looking for more energy sources, that the destruction is irreversible. With the current use rate of non-renewable energy, this situation may very well be the express of the earth in future years.

Hence, this newspaper will explore the utilization of the alternate energy source, solar powered energy for present and future use. Advantages and down sides of the power source will be reviewed, in relation to its technological, economical, viability factors. In doing this, the newspaper will try to show that not only is solar energy as an alternate power source better for the environment, but also verify that it's better for our current economic climate over time.

Table of Contents

1. 0 Introduction 4

1. 1 Summary of Solar Energy 4

1. 2 Everyday Use 6

2. 0 Technological Viability 6

2. 1 Efficiency 8

3. 0 Environmental Sustainability 8

4. 0 Economical 9

5. 0 Finish 10

References 11

1. 0 Introduction

In today's weather of growing energy needs and increasing environmental matter, alternatives to the utilization of non-renewable and polluting fossil fuels have to be investigated.

We have only really been looking at the likelihood of solar powered energy seriously for days gone by fifty years, and fossil run machines and electricity plant life have been investigated for days gone by century. Within the journal article, "Photovoltaics A Way to Sustainable Futures", Joshua M. Pierce state governments that since 1957, electricity demand in the US has increased by over 450% as the US population has increased by only 50%, which illustrates the way the demand for electricity is continuing to grow. It's been estimated that we only have 50 to 70 years kept of most fossil fuels at the existing consumption rate. This is a scary body, considering that as soon as 2050 there could be forget about food to feed the industrialized machine. Something will have to change, it's apparent, and alternative energy is the most reasonable answer.

Green Calmness India defines Green Energy "as a ecological energy source that originates from the environment that is perennial. Clean Renewable Energy are those, which do not donate to any sort of emission harmful to lives such as radiation, carbon, or involve extractive processes, or which would cause large size displacement of people or devastation of land and forest ranges. " (Green Tranquility India, 2009). In other words, renewable energy can be studied continually from the environment and does not affect the standard activities in the biosphere.

One such green power source being considered for future use is solar technology.

Photovoltaics, "image" indicating light and "voltaic" meaning electricity, is one of the quickest growing solar technology solutions. Photovoltaic devices, or solar cells, use semiconductor materials to immediately convert sunlight into electricity.

Overview Solar Energy

Solar cells, mostly manufactured from silicon, absorb sunlight which consists of photons, the vitality by-products of the nuclear reaction in sunlight. The photons release electrons that are captured in the form of a power current which is employed as electricity. This is also called the photoelectric effect. Solar technology is the oldest type of energy found on earth, as it is really as old as sunlight. Every second the planet receives 95. 8 trillion w of electricity, (Pearce, 2002). That is well beyond the quantity of power used in 1 day.

It is undiscovered when humans started out using solar technology to improve their lifestyles. As far as we know, people have always used sunlight for growth, eyesight and friendliness.

"Some of the first ancient civilizations to use solar technology as heating system were those from the deserts, and dried out areas". (Goswami, 1997)

It was however documented that countries such as Egypt, Libya and Algeria would build solid walls of dirt to protect them of their harsh climate. For instance, through the hot days the wall membrane would absorb the suns energy, giving the huts cool, and at night time when heat range were much colder, the wall space when emit the days temperature inside. (Goswami, 1997)

Throughout history folks have experimented with the countless uses of the sun's ability. In the 17th century, researchers in Europe started rediscovering sunlight. Whenever a French scientist proved that the sun's rays could melt copper and fuse bits of iron if concentrated and focused by using a cup prism, people commenced to start to see the usable ability of the sun. Inside the 1690's an Italian scientist invented a solar furnace that was so hot it could shatter a diamond, one of the hardest substances on earth (Goswami, 1997)

Using the sun to create energy was explore in better lengths in the 19th century.

During this time, an engineer called Frank Shuman, made a breakthrough. He built a herb that used dark-colored troughs protected in goblet with a few inches of water. This was exposed to the sun, water would become scorching, triggering it to circulate and force a power generator. He was able to find financial backers and built the world's first solar electric power flower in Egypt. However, the Eastern Sun Power Company went of business even though it was using free energy. It didn't produce enough electricity for the area so it used, 14, 000 sq. foot of sun-collecting land. (Pearce, 2002)

In 1954 Bell Laboratories developed the first photovoltaic (or solar) cell, created from the semi-conductor silicon, and other elements. It was the first way to convert sunlight straight into electricity. These solar cells were chosen as the power source for the satellites in the 1960s, because they could be small and light, and do not need heavy batteries or other types of generating electricity. After NASA and other major research workers backed solar technology, the technology greatly increased. "The first major use of solar cells, other than in satellite tv, were various disaster models and in remote control areas where power lines couldn't be come to. " (Energy Issues Pty Ltd). In these circumstances, it was more expensive to run power lines than to acquire the costly solar equipment. For instance, in the high mountains of Papua New Guinea, where there is too much jungle for easy access, there are necessary cell phone lines run by solar power and only frequented for usual check-ups.

1. 2 Everyday Usage

Numerous devices for collecting solar technology and switching it into electricity have been developed throughout the years, and solar energy is now being found in a variety of ways. Aswell as supplying energy to residential homes and companies, they can be popularly found in agriculture where they supply the power to pump normal water, prevent snow from creating on ponds where livestock drink, heating up barns to keep animals from freezing, and non permanent lighting. They are also used to use electric dams in areas that cannot be supplied by electric power lines.

Solar powered items have began to appear quite commonly in many consumer items such as watches, radios, calculators, rechargeable batteries, flashlights, etc. The main attraction in these things is you don't have to replace the batteries, which will save you money in the long term. (International SOLAR TECHNOLOGY, 2006)

2. 0 Technological Viability

The time in which solar technology is available, is also the time we least need it least - day time. One downside of solar power, according to International Solar Energy is its steadiness and trustworthiness. Solar-powered devices count on the steady delivery photon to keep carefully the electricity generating process heading, as discussed recently. When sunlight comes below the horizon at night, photons stop stunning the solar power panels and the energy drops instantly.

However, the improvement in technical advancement over the last few years, have seen the development of a remedy. As the sun's energy can't be stored for use another time, we need to convert the suns energy into a power that may be stored. Because of this nature of solar technology, two components are required to have an operating solar technology generator. These two components are a collector and a safe-keeping unit.

The collector gathers rays that falls on it and converts a fraction than it to other forms of energy (either electricity and warmth or heat alone). Solar collectors use reflective materials such as mirrors or lenses to focus the sun's energy to provide temperature energy which is then changed into electricity. This is done in 3 ways.

"The first method is a trough systems which use curved mirrors to concentrate the sun's heat onto a pipe which has a liquid, usually petrol. The hot petrol then boils water to produce vapor which is employed to generate electricity.

Alternatively, mirrors in the form of an dish can be also used to focus the sun's heat onto a receiver. The latter exchanges the solar energy to a warmth engine, converting the heat into mechanical energy which drives a generator to create electricity. This method is named the dish/engine unit system.

A third approach to concentrating the sun's energy is through the use of electricity towers which give a centralized power having the ability to store energy. These systems use a large selection of mirrors, called heliostats. These heliostats concentrate the heat onto a receiver together with the towers. The device contains a liquid that once heated up can be used to produce steam which in turn turns a turbine to produce electricity. "(Markvart & Casta±er, 2003)

The storage product is required because of the non-constant character of solar energy; at times only a very little bit of radiation will be received. During the night or during heavy cloud cover, for example, the quantity of energy produced by the collector will be quite small. The storage unit can take the surplus energy produced during the times of maximum production, and release it when the output drops. One possible method of storing solar energy is by heat water that may be insulated. This particular is heated by passing it through hollow sections. Black-coated steel plates are used because dark colorings absorb heat better. However this method only provides enough energy for activities such as cleaning and bathing. The solar panels generate "low level" warmth, that is, they make low temperature for the quantity of heat needed in a day.

Apparently, regarding to International SOLAR TECHNOLOGY Pty Ltd, to be able to generate "high quality" heat, extreme enough to convert drinking water into high-pressure steam which can then be used to turn electric generators there should be another method. The focused beams of sunshine are Gathered in a device called a solar furnace, which works on the same principles as a sizable magnifier. The solar furnace needs the sunshine from a large area and by the use of lens and mirrors can target the light into a very small area

It was found that, a backup power is usually normally added, too, for the situations when the amount of energy required is higher than both what is being produced and what is stored in the container.

An issue elevated by International SOLAR TECHNOLOGY Pty Ltd, was that only areas with a lot of sunlight are suited to solar power technology. But this matter happens to be being worked on as experts have just just lately invented a plastic solar cell that can convert solar energy to electrical energy even over a cloudy day. This cheap device, filled with the first solar cells in a position to harness the sun's invisible rays. Also, the experts are positioning this futuristic view that clear plastic solar panels could be laid across deserts to provide the whole globe with enough clean energy.

Another way to the issue of the inconsistent light has been investigated right now by Arthur D. Little Inc. Natural sunlight are not continuous on earth due to weather, location, and season. To avoid this experts have envisioned "huge solar driven space stations that would orbit the planet earth, capable of sustaining themselves for many years. " (Committee on Aeronautical and Space Technology, 2005). They might generate electricity by the vast selection of mirrors on solar cells, and then the energy would be converted to micro-waves that might be beamed to globe and then sent out. These channels are estimated to be about 10 mls long, and some 23, 000 mls above the planet earth. As far fetched as this seems, it's actually theoretically possible, and may 1 day be our way to obtain electricity. One flaw in the plan however, is that there is actually a great deal of space debris floating around at high velocities. If this dirt collided with the solar panels, as it invariably would, they might be damaged. Just how much, with what price is still to be thought (Goswami, 1997)

Another idea is the "solar plantation. " It might be ideally located in desert locations where it is sunlit nearly every day. The farms would actually harvest sunshine, using flat plate collectors to absorb immense amounts of heat, which would subsequently heat normal water. The warm water would turn giant turbines, and produce electricity.

3. 0 Efficiency

Solar skin cells, contain no moving parts, and have an operating life of 20 - 30 years. Regarding to "Convincing the Home Builder to generate Solar Homes-Evaluation of the Passive Solar Workshop for Contractors" by S. Klein, these are reliable because they operate for a long time with practically no maintenance.

Most of the photovoltaic skin cells available today operate at an efficiency of less than 15% ;that is, of all the radiation that falls upon them, significantly less than 15% of it is converted to electricity. The utmost theoretical efficiency for a photovoltaic cell is only 32. 3%, but at this efficiency, solar electricity is very inexpensive. The majority of our other varieties of electricity generation are in a lower efficiency than this. Unfortunately, certainty still lags behind theory and a 15% efficiency is not usually considered cost-effective by most vitality companies, even if it is fine for gadgets and pocket calculators. Hope for volume solar electricity shouldn't be deserted, however, for recent methodical developments have created a solar cell with an efficiency of 28. 2% efficiency in the lab. This sort of cell has not been field examined. If it retains its efficiency in the uncontrolled environment of the exterior world, and if it generally does not tend to break down, it will be economical for electric power companies to develop solar power facilities in the end.

4. 0 Environmental Sustainability

It is projected that the sunlight that falls on the top of earth in the period of time of fourteen days is comparable in energy to all or any the vitality stored in every the oil and gas and coal and other fuels which exist on, or under the earth (Markvart & Casta±er, 2003)

Solar electric power has two big advantages over fossil fuels. The foremost is in the fact that it's renewable; it is never heading to run out. The second is its effect on the environment. Corresponding to Solar Heating Systems: Research and Design with the Sun-Pulse Method by Gordon F. Tully, solar cell systems do not harm the environment, as do regular methods of ability generation. The sun can be an infinite source of energy and since its use for powering homes causes no damage to the environment. We have to use the clean and silent energy source it to its maximum potential.

As the primary element of building of solar power panels, silicon, is the second most common component on earth. Therefore, you can find very little environmental disturbance caused by the creation of solar power panels. (Markvart & Casta±er, 2003)

While the getting rid of of fossil fuels introduces many unsafe pollutants in to the atmosphere and plays a part in environmental problems like global warming and acid rainfall, solar energy is totally non-polluting. While many acres of land must be ruined to nourish a fossil energy energy plant its required fuel, the only real land that must definitely be ruined for a solar energy plant is the land so it stands on.

However, solar energy only triggers environmental disruption if it's centralized and produced over a gigantic scale. At this scale, the development of solar energy would have some unpredictable negative environmental effects. If all the solar lovers were placed in one or simply a few areas, they might probably have large effects on the neighborhood environment, and perhaps have large effects on the globe environment. From changes in local rain conditions to another ice age has been expected therefore of producing solar energy on this level. The problem is based on the change of temperatures and humidity near a solar power; if the energy producing sections are placed non-centralized, they should not create the same local, mass heat range change that could have such bad effects on the environment. (Tully, 1981)

In scheduled course, solar power will reduce the emissions associated with vitality generation. In keeping with, Solar Heating up Systems: Evaluation and Design with the Sun-Pulse Method by Gordon F. Tully, with 1 million solar energy roofs are set up, could reduce carbon emissions equal to the gross annual emission from 850, 000 autos.

5. 0 Economical

For many. fossil fuels are too available and cheap for the investment in solar energy to pay dividends. Ironically, but the sun's energy is free, the curse of solar powered energy would be that the techniques are always too expensive. (Green Calmness, 2006)

One major concern with solar power is cost-effectiveness. The silicone used for production, is one of the very most easily available elements on earth. Nevertheless, "the kind of grade silicon needed for solar panels is very costly. It is produced in large cylinders, and then trim in thin sections. The lowering process is wasteful and expensive" (Pearce, 2002). A fresh product is polycrystalline silicon, which is grown in thin sheets and slice in squares. In Peter Lorenz, Dickon Pinner, and Thomas Seitz article The economics of solar powered energy it suggests that "Although polycrystalline is much less productive as natural silicon, it's significantly cheaper, and lowering the price is one of the main things to make solar energy useful. "

The first cost of installing a solar powered energy system is stopping current assembly for the unit. The Australian Governments, and many others across the world had recognize this and are providing twelve-monthly rebates and duty incentives to customers who install the systems in their homes.

Consumers with solar powered energy systems in their homes helps you to save about 50-60% on their utility bills, (Energy Matters Pty Ltd). These personal savings will exceed the original cost of a system in about 10-12 years. After the initial cost is covered, the customer continues to be saving thousands in utilities in comparison to electricity and gas use.

As we burn up more fossil fuels, the expenses of electricity and gas would be at the mercy of increase over the years. With solar powered home, monthly bills would stay a comparable no subject how expensive electricity and gas become. The cost savings of solar-powered homes is an extra benefit for consumers who know that their homes are assisting to preserve our environment.

The best part about solar powered energy is that once you've paid for the machine you don't have to worry about increasing tool costs. You're quite simply buying your electricity at once. However, the cost is still a primary factor to be considered. Arrays of rooftop solar power panels capable of generating one kilowatt of electricity cost at least $7, 500 despite having the solar panels now charging about one-third of what they performed ten years ago. (Lorenz, Pinner, & Seitz, 2008) Still, the common household requires two to four times that much power, and therefore it would take about a $30, 000 system to save lots of about $15 monthly for every single kilowatt of power generated. It would take about twenty years until enough electricity would be made to replace the investment. (Energy Things Pty Ltd).

Despite the great cost of solar technology systems, people are still investing in them because of their obvious advantage to the surroundings and because when you have it installed, the vitality is free. As technology increases, solar energy can be more economically possible because the price tag on solar panels will go down.

6. 0 Conclusion

The quantity of advantages associated with using solar powered energy for future years, greatly out way the negatives. Lots of the issues explored throughout this paper are being research or have already solved, a few of which show great promises for the future. Despite being presently still quite expensive, and showing negative effects to the surroundings if carried out in a huge centralised scale, there is absolutely no doubt that solar energy will continue steadily to grow and slowly but surely replace the fossil-fuelled world around it. Aside from the upcoming scarcity of fossil fuels, their highly pollutive nature makes solar technology a much healthier and wiser decision.

The concern with exhausting all our resources has also spurred further development of alternative fuels, and created a greater interest in overcoming those negatives of solar power that remain. Technology changes rapidly, and the number of disadvantages of solar powered energy that seemed almost impossible only a few years ago are now relatively slight inconveniences.

Hopefully, with continuing this research, we are in a place 1 day where we can straight rely on the sun for all our energy needs, and never have to use pollutant non renewable resources again. With an energy source like solar powered energy, that's environmentally safe, with the capacity of producing the raw power to gratify the whole planet's energy needs, we would be extremely foolish never to utilize it.

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