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Solar Energy; Facts And Figures
By: Bryan Wong
Most power plants in the United States and all over
world are using fossil fuels to operate and generate
electricity. Fossil fuel has been used as an energy
source as long as man has learned to generate
power. Fossil fuel has been around for ages and
when man started using this energy sources no one
though about the consequences. Fossil fuels will run
out and there will be a shortage of it in near future.
This shortage in fossil fuel will have its affect on our
daily live and various industries. Today we see some
of these affects already, fossil fuel prizes are raising
and electricity is becoming more expensive. Although
fossil fuels are more scares, to need for fossil fuels
will still be here and will not decrease in near future.
To solve this shortage of fossil fuels we will need to
look for other possibilities for our energy demand.
Fortunately, alternative energy sources are growing in interest. For instance, locations with
high water falls are experimenting on building a hydro-electric power plant, which turns out to
be successful. Other locations with high wind speed make use of a power wind mills that can
convert wind power into electricity. Also thermal and tidal powers are good alternatives.

Solar energy is also one of the energy sources that is gaining in interest. Solar energy has
steadily been growing. Today solar energy is widely used in the US and the advantages are
numerous. Our solar energy source, the sun, its life span is estimated to be another 4.5
billion years. It is fair to say that this energy source is almost endless.

Rate of Energy from the Sun

The sun’s radiation reaches a certain unit of area in space in the region of the Earth’s orbit
and is estimated to be at 1,400 watts per square meter. Out of this, photovoltaic cells (also
known as solar cells) can capture 19 to 56 watts per square meter (for 15% efficiency) or an
equivalent of 0.45 to 1.35 kilowatt per hour (kWh) in an annual day and night average.

Therefore, if there would be more area that will be covered by several solar panels, these
panels can produce slightly more energ y in the form of electricity than what is currently
available from oil, gas, and other sources of energy combined (assuming 8% solar cell
efficiency).

Conversion of Solar Energy

There are two ways of conversion of solar energ-y. First is the direct solar energy which
involves only one conversion into a usable form. For instance:

• Sunlight hits the solar cell, converting it into electricity.

• Sunlight hits the absorber surface of a solar thermal collector, converting into thermal energy
which can be used to heat homes during cold season.

The second is the indirect solar energy which involves more than one conversion to reach a
usable form. For instance:

• Plants use photosynthesis to transform solar energ y to chemical energy, which can be
burned later as fuel to generate electricity (also known as bio-fuel technology).

• Hydroelectric dams and wind turbines are indirectly supplied by solar energy through its
interaction with the Earth’s atmosphere.

Pros and Cons of Solar Energy

Just like any other types of energy resources, solar energy has its ins and outs.

Pros:

• Pollution-free.

• Solar facilities can be run with little extra input or maintenance.

• It is abundant. As mentioned earlier, most of the inhabited areas here on Earth can be
reached by sunlight.

Cons:

• Although it is abundant, non-tropical locations can receive little sunlight. Thus, power that
will be produced in these locations is a minimum.

• Only during daytime thus not available during night time.

• Photovoltaic cell technologies generate direct current (DC) power which needs to be
converted to alternating current (AC) power used in distribution grids.

Once massive development of the use of solar energy is materialized, expect that every
household or industry in the world will now be powered by solar energy. It is not just a dream,
it will be a dream come true.

About the Author: Bryan Wong is the owner of the website
http://www.GetEasyInfo.com/solarpower - A great website that
shares quality Info, News and TIPS about solar energy.

Source: http://
www.isnare.com

Permanent Link: http://www.isnare.com/?aid=69014&ca=Society
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