Renewable power is an innovation that promotes clean energy while bringing down energy costs. One of the goals of renewable energy is to replace “dirt” energy such as fossil fuels and coal. During “dirty” energy processes, they emit vast amounts of carbon into our atmosphere, polluting the environment and putting the Earth in danger. Renewable energy such as solar energy have been recognized as a green alternative against pollution.
If you didn’t know already, the Sun is the closest star to our planet Earth. The giant glowing hot blob of gas is the center of our universe. It holds the planets in orbit by its gravitational pull. And with it comes light and heat, making it possible for life on Earth to exist.
The energy provided by the Sun keeps plants healthy because they need sunlight to grow. And animals and humans need plants for food and for the oxygen they produce. If there was no sun, life on Earth would cease to exist.
Humans have been gaining benefits from the Sun for thousands of years. And as we innovate, technology has been used to harness the power of the Sun and convert it into renewable energy for industries and homes.
Every day, light and heat from the Sun fall on Earth. And it is estimated to radiate energy that can be used by everyone in the world for a year. Who wouldn’t want to waste this blessing? So a variety of technologies, called solar technology, was developed to convert sunlight to usable energy consumption. The most commonly used solar technologies are solar photovoltaics used to capture the Sun’s radiation and turn it into other useful forms of energy.
Active Solar Energy
Active solar technologies use external devices such as electrical or mechanical machines to convert sunlight into another form of energy. Results can be heat or electricity, depending on your system.
Passive Solar Energy
Unlike active solar energy technologies, passive solar systems do not use external devices. Instead, these systems take advantage of the local climate to heat structures during the cold season and reflect heat during summer.
An example of this are building designs optimized for passive solar space heating. In these designs, the Sun shines through the windows of a building that warms the interior. By natural radiation and convection, the heat from the Sun gets absorbed by solar heat-absorbing walls or floors during winter. While in summer, shades are installed to block the Sun’s heat to cool the building.
Harnessing the Sun’s Power
Solar panels are the most familiar form of solar technology. These panels utilize Photovoltaics solar cells or PV cells that absorb energy from the sunlight. These specialized cells convert sunlight directly into electricity via the photovoltaic effect. This means that these cells, made up of silicon or other materials, absorb photons (light particles) and liberate electrons, generating current.
Other than PV cells, Concentrating Solar-Thermal power (CSP) is also used to harness solar power. Solar thermal collectors use mirrors to reflect and concentrate sunlight onto receivers that collect solar power and convert it to heat. The heat transforms a fluid in the system to steam at high temperatures and pressures to drive steam turbines that produce electricity.
Solar power alone cannot totally replace the existing energy systems today because of the need for wide operating spaces. Therefore, these systems are integrated with varying mixtures of traditional and other renewable energy sources. With this, solar power can help reduce the cost of electricity, contribute to a resilient electrical grid, create jobs, and promote economic growth and green energy.
Why Solar Energy?
The number one reason renewable energy sources such as the Sun must be utilized is that they don’t cause pollution. Renewables don’t emit greenhouse gases, toxic substances, or waste in energy generation processes, making them the most viable solution to prevent environmental degradation.
Utilizing solar power makes you less dependent on oil and fossil fuel usage, reducing your cost on utility bills while being sustainable. Also, solar technologies such as solar panels last for as long as 30 years with minimal maintenance.
As Long as the Sun Shines
According to NASA, solar power will continue to be beneficial until the Sun no longer shines, which still has 6.5 billion years of life. That’s why businesses and industries use solar technologies. To diversify their energy sources rather than depend on limited fossil fuel energy.
With solar power, you have a sustainable energy source that improves efficiency and saves money. Whether you are a businessman or a homeowner, there are many solar power systems available in the market that fit your power needs.
Solar power systems are part of the sustainable solution to climate change. And there are two primary reasons why you must invest in solar energy: Financial and environmental benefits. Aside from getting an excellent return on investment, solar power systems can reduce utility costs while producing clean, renewable, emission-free energy. That being said, you don’t have to worry about making air pollutants and greenhouse gases. And as long as they are appropriately maintained, solar power systems will continue to produce energy such as electricity for a long time.