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Solar Panels and Power
The push is on for the world to find a way to power our
civilization, without hurting the planet that we live on. This
has led many to look at the possibility of solar power as an
alternative. Solar power is something that is free, plentiful
and can easily be harvested. However, if this is the case, why
have we not made more of a push to access solar power? It is
right there, why not choose solar power?
Solar power is essentially the creation of electricity from
sunlight. The sunlight is directed to solar cells, which take
the sun’s energy and convert it into electricity. Solar power
currently provides only .2 percent of the power we use, but it
can provide much, much more. The total energy that the Earth
absorbs from the sun is about 3.85 million exajoules per year.
This means that the sun provides our civilization with more
energy in one hour, than we typically use in an entire year. The
amount of energy the Earth receives from the sun in just one
year is twice the amount that can ever be attained by using
coal, oil, natural gas, and uranium combined.
There are many places that solar power can be installed, in
order to provide electricity. In the Southwest United States,
several solar plants are being set up to harness the immense
energy that hits that region each year. Likewise, Europe has
several solar power plants, including some of the world’s
largest in Spain and Portugal. There are also plans in the works
to build a massive solar plant in the Sahara Desert that could
provide enough power to light up Europe for decades.
Solar power is not without its problems, which include the fact
that the initial cost of the solar cells is quite high, and can
be over $1,000 each. However, that being said, the cost is
offset within only a few years by the immense energy savings
created by solar power. Another drawback is that solar energy
can only generate electricity during daylight hours and must
rely on batteries for energy in the night. Cloudy days also
limit the amount of energy solar panels get. However, using wind
power can offset this.
Looking at the advantages of solar power, they carry no
pollution and the only pollution they create is in the
construction of the solar cells, which is easily offset by the
amount of good they do for the environment. They are also
extremely quiet, which makes it a good alternative to noisy
power plants. Remote locations can also harness solar power
without the need for an infrastructure going to a solar power
plant. Solar panels can also be installed on the sides of
buildings, and on roofs, providing those buildings with an
abundance of free energy.
As can clearly be seen, solar energy is the wave of the future
and the direction that humanity is heading in. Those who realize
this will benefit the most in our new solar future.