Solar Power is the energy that is derived from the sun. Our sun is an abundant source of energy; it gives off heat and light. Several cultures of the past and even few cultures of today they are honoring the sun. The ancient Egyptians even worshiped the sun as a God. Since the sun is certainly an abundant and limitless source of power, this respect was not misplaced. The merits of using its solar energy are numerous for several generations to come.
Every morning with each dawn, the sun release solar energy, providing light and helping to radiate heat. Although this happening for millions of years only recently we begun to capitalize on this source of almost infinite power. In the past, the Greeks and the Egyptians concentrated on its radiation and harnessed its power to heat whatever they wished.
The energy from the sun is clean and free of any pollutants. Other sources of energy like petroleum or organic fuels leave back residues and harmful gases when utilized to create energy.
The sun burns for the past 4,5 billion years and will burn for the next 4-5 billion years. That’s definitely more than our lifetime and certainly more than several generations of the future. Every morning it promptly shows up and vanishes for the evening while it lights up another portion of the globe. You can harness the energy of the sun to either store it away or utilize its energy differently.
There is no restriction on how much energy we can use from the sun. Apparently, the amount of energy that comes from the sun every few minutes if successfully harnessed can power the entire United States of America for a whole year. If we were only able to harness the immense energy of the sun we would be able to solve all the worlds energy problems.
Ever wonder why no one thought about this earlier? How come if there’s so much energy just lying around, we simply cannot harness it efficiently? Why does so much of the solar energy go totally unnoticed and ultimately wasted? Well, one of the reasons that this wonderful power reserve is generally wasted is the fact that the sunlight that we actually receive is so thinly dissipated across the earth to be able to contribute substantially enough if we try to harness it. For us to be able to actually harness the power of the sun we have to be able to manipulate, focus and store the sun’s energy. While this may seem simple it is easier said than done.
The reflection method is based on the concentration of the sun’s rays through a single or a set of mirrors onto one point and then utilizing the concentrated heat energy that is produced for out need. A parabolic mirror much like a dish antenna can capture the suns rays and focus them on a single point.
This is the principle behind solar water heaters. Painted black pipes sandwiched between two layers of glass have water inside them that is heated thanks to the rays of the sun.
A more recent invention of the solar cell is composed of treated silicon crystals. When these crystals hit by the rays of the sun they knock electrons out of their orbits. Thereby creating a void that gets filled by electrons from the other silicon crystals, which creates an imbalance of electrons. Hence a flow of current can be either immediately utilized or else stored away in a rechargeable battery.
Despite the apparent benefits of using solar energy, it is most unfortunate that there are very few solar plants around the world. Sadly, with today’s level of technology, cost and reliability are two major factors that are still hurdles in the way of mass usage of solar energy.
The most efficient solar cells are still not capable of generating enough power to be commercially viable without occupying huge surface areas. Furthermore, reliance exclusively on solar cells is not yet practical, for if there were a cloudy day it could reduce the amount of electricity and that would be disastrous for people reliant on that energy.
However, constant innovation and research on solar energy are resulting in more efficient solar cells that are a fraction of the size of existing cells and churn out much more power.
May they are still expensive, but soon they will be affordable and available to the common man.