Solar Renewable Energy – Sun Power

January 22nd, 2010 | by ADMIN |

It is no secret that the sun can be harnessed to provide a source of energy for homes and businesses.

The sun is a powerful star. It supplies us with energy, through a process called nuclear fusion, and sustains life on our planet Earth. Solar energy, or energy from the sun, has existed since prehistoric times when men would magnify the sun’s energy in efforts to start fires.

The sun is a valuable resource that radiates enough energy on the United States in one day to meet the nation’s needs for one and a half years. Since it is a free, clean and renewable source of energy, it is an energy source that will play a vital role in our future.

Using the sun’s energy for our energy source seems like an easy solution to having an energy supply forever. Harnessing the suns energy is where the problem lies. The sun’s rays shine all over the world and not in just one spot. Although it takes only 8 minutes for sunlight to travel to the earth, trying to catch the rays over such a wide area can prove to be tricky. Also, the energy in any one given place will vary due to factors, such as, clouds and weather conditions.

The history of using solar energy began in 1890’s when solar water heaters were used in the United States. Solar water heating requires a storage collector and a storage tank. Flat plate solar collectors are mounted on rooftops. Pipes carrying water are pumped through these collectors. The tubes are painted black so they will get hot quicker. As the heat is collected the fluid in the tubes get heated. A storage tank holds the hot liquid. This helps with central heating and cutting fuel costs. Solar heaters became popular when natural gas was expensive and burning wood and coals were burdensome. It’s popularity diminished with the discovery of an abundance of natural gas and oil deposits. Now they are making a comeback to replace the depleting fossil fuels that had taken its place.

Solar energy can be in the form of heat energy or light energy. The technology of photovoltaic, or PV as it is commonly called, converts the suns energy into electric currents through the use of solar cells. These electric currents can be used instantaneously or stored for later use. The PV cells consist of pieces of silicon under a thin piece of glass. They have both a positive and negative charge. Simple examples of this are the solar powered calculators that are common today. More complex examples are solar panels placed on roofs. This consists of using thin film solar cells as rooftop shingles, roof tiles, and even glazing for skylights. Unfortunately, the cells generate only about one sixth of the sun’s energy into electricity. This means bigger arrays are needed and along with this come larger costs.

Solar thermal power plants use the sun to heat fluid, which in turn, is transferred into steam similar to fossil fuel burning plants. The steam is transformed into mechanical energy in a turbine and electrical energy from a generator. The downfall is solar plants cannot produce energy on cloudy days.

It is expected the next few years will see millions of households using solar energy. As research continues and processes improve, using our sun as a renewable energy source will produce efficiency and cost savings. So, let the sun shine in and take full advantage of this warm energy source where you live.

Matthew Hick


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  1. 5 Responses to “Solar Renewable Energy – Sun Power”

  2. By Madeline H on Jan 22, 2010 | Reply

    Describe all of the renewable energy alternatives: wind power, solar energy, and biomass fermentation?
    o What are some challenges with using and managing wind power, solar energy, and biomass fermentation as alternative renewable
    energy resources?
    o Name at least one other renewable energy resource.
    o Include a response to the following: Nonrenewable energy resources include coal,
    oil, and natural gas. Describe three common challenges with managing
    nonrenewable energy resources.

  3. By theantilib on Jan 22, 2010 | Reply

    I’ve sworn off term papers.
    References :

  4. By jesse j on Jan 22, 2010 | Reply

    why do you ask questions you all ready know the answer to?
    renewable resource = methane
    non renewable=oil
    blah, blah, blah, blah,
    the real question should be why is it we don’t want to change our lifestyles to adjust to the crippling disaster we are creating for our children and our children’s children
    References :

  5. By jim on Jan 22, 2010 | Reply

    solar: Its free ‘after’ you pay for a 20,000$ piece of panel and then you have matenince. Then what do you do when it rains?
    wind: Its a GIANT SPINNING BLADE!!! So sometimes birds die. About 4000 a year world wide.
    hydrogen: Clean fuel in, drinkable waste out.
    lithium: The lithum battery life has ben multiplied x10. So yay.

    At the rate the world uses it, gas will be depleted in 100 years. However cheap gas prolly won’t last anothr week.

    But we can now turn turkys into thir weight in oil in 1 week with some time travel doo-hicky.
    References :

  6. By briangorski_us on Jan 22, 2010 | Reply

    Okay, I don’t think anyone’s taken this seriously yet, so…

    How about, hydro-electric, geothermal steam, wind turbines, augmentative passive solar, such as water heating and daylighting (somwhat different then solar lighting, or skylighting, although skylights count.) Also let’s not forget rain harvesting, and gray-water usage.these save water, and energy from a treatment, billing, delivery standpoint.

    Now that I asnwered the name other part: challenges, what happens when there is no sun/wind/water-flowing, if you have all of these, it won’t happen that often, but when it does, are batteries a practical solution? Won’t they eventually wind up in land-fill off-gasing? If you only use one or two of the 3 majors, what about when any of those aren’t available? Availability is still a big concern, hopefully that will be the next stock-market bubble and drive a massive influx of green-products.

    The common challenges with non-renewables, rather than starting from an environmental standpoint, how about we start with what they’re called. NON-RENEWABLE, eventually we will run out. It’s theorized that we’ve found all oil on earth, and will start a downward turn on production by somtime in 2008 or 2009. Aside from that, there’s the obvious global warming issues.

    O hope this helps some.
    References :
    Various. Science Channel, Green By Design (look it up in iTunes), Discovery Channel. Etc.

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