The sun certainly is a limitless source of power. Energy that is derived from the sun is called solar energy. The sun’s been revered by several cultures of the past and even by a few cultures still present today. In the past the Greeks and the Egyptians have been known to harness the power of the sun to heat whatever they wished to by concentrating its radiation.
The solar energy comes filtered through our atmosphere providing light and helping to radiate heat. This has been happening for millions of years yet it is only recently that we have begun to capitalize on this abundant source of almost infinite power.
The merits for using its solar energy are numerous. First of all it’s free. It’s non-polluting. Unlike petroleum or organic fuels that leave back residues and often leave back harmful gases when utilized to create energy, the solar energy is free of pollutants. Furthermore, the solar energy is extremely reliable, meaning the sun has been burning for roughly four and a half billion years now and is likely to burn on for another four to five billion years to come. What’s even better, it is limitless there is no restriction on how much energy we can use from the sun.
There are very few solar power plants around the world. Cost and reliability are two major factors that are still hurdles in the way of mass usage of solar energy. So far we have only managed to develop three partially successful means of collecting solar energy.
The first method is called reflection Method, which 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. The mirror is like a dish antenna and can be used to capture the rays and focus them on a single point.
The radiation method is the second method and that’s with solar water heaters. Black pipes placed between two layers of glass like a sandwich, have water inside them that is heated by the sun.
Solar panels are the third, more recent invention. They are composed of treated silicon crystals, which when hit by the rays of the sun knock electrons out of their orbits and thereby create a void that needs to be filled by electrons from the other silicon crystals. The imbalance of electrons causes a flow of current which can be either used or stored away in a rechargeable battery.
Constant innovation and research on solar energy has resulted in more efficient solar cells. Today they are a fraction of the size of the previous cells, more powerful, affordable and available to the common man.
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