Overview of solar energy
Wind, solar, water, or any natural resource that can generate energy, also falls into the category of renewable energy.
All parts of the globe can benefit from the generosity of the sun with the exception of the polar zone that lacks sunlight for several months out of the year. Clean energy is non-polluting; its use does not result in greenhouse emissions. Thus, solar energy is ideal for the preservation of the environment. In one year, our planet consumes around 10 billion fossil fuels, such as oil. This figure is insignificant since it actually represents less than 3% of what the sun can emit on a daily basis.
Less than 1 hour in the sun is enough to cover the annual needs of our planet’s energy. A trend toward solar energy policies has been emerging given the dwindling global reserves.
The operation of the solar energy
Light or sunlight conveys energy in the form of photons (particles).
Solar photovoltaic electricity distributed on networks is generated by applying panels, or more specifically photovoltaic modules. According to Brinkmann Roofing, “Solar shingles belong to a class of technologies known as building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV), which integrate solar-generating functionality into traditional roofing materials such as asphalt, slate and metal.”
The idea is to directly convert sunlight into electrical energy rays. This is done when photons come in contact with silicon, a commonly used material in photovoltaic cells. Through this method arises the propagation of electrical currents. When sunlight is lacking, batteries allow the storage of electrical energy. Electricity is also obtained through solar thermal energy from the heat generation. In this case, it comes to centralize the maximum solar energy by means of mirrors and parabolas.
Heat is thus generated through vapors that course through the turbines which in turn provides electricity.
I should also mention the role of solar energy in its interaction with other renewables. It works in conjunction, particularly with moving bodies of water and wind and is vital in marine and wind energy. The turbines of hydroelectric dams are activated by water and are closely related to how solar energy works.
Solar energy in our daily lives
People can use it in their daily needs for things such as lighting, heating or cooking. The water heater or solar oven consists of our essential appliances. Solar thermal energy uses thermal sensors which allows for home heating or hot water for daily consumption. Engineers and architects are working to find the best compromise between being able to use solar energy for natural lighting in commercial building designs while also meeting aesthetic requirements. Solar energy is involved in the formation of hydrocarbons and fossils as well as in the process of photosynthesis.
The action of light helps to promote the transformation of minerals in plants proving useful for our food. Animals and plants on food chain have benefited from the contribution of solar energy.
The constraints on the use of solar energy
To make the most of solar energy, several parameters must be considered.
The choice of the location, surface installation, sunlight direction and to some extent, the inclination of the roof, is important. It must be remembered that the production of solar energy and its performance depends on the climatic variations.
Summer is the season that offers the most satisfactory conditions of sunshine. Thus, winter and disruptions due to cloudy conditions severely restrict production. Nighttime is the major drawback though, so you have to have other means for the accumulation of electrical energy.
You’ll get better results with photovoltaic panels a substantial area covered. Without including heating, a person should have one year of 15 sqm panels for its electricity needs. Solar is less economical for larger production compared to nuclear power. For individual investment, the cost of materials used in photovoltaics is quite high because of the need for specialized technicians for installation. Beyond 25 years, the sign of change is necessary to ensure performance optimization. The future of solar energy: the possibilities do not seem to end for the future of solar power and renewables. The IEA (International Energy Agency) expects the use of renewable energies to gradually replace fossil and nuclear energy.
According to an analysis by the European Observatory of Renewable Energy, its breakthrough is remarkable since the coefficient of evolution has increased to 8 in 5 years. This trend will continue until 2017 where the development of solar energy will exceed that of nuclear energy.
Emerging countries like India are increasingly interested in the use of solar energy. After wind energy, the country of over 1 billion people is committed to making their infrastructure solar energy based. Partnership agreements are planned with the US State Department. Until 2020, more than 60 Indian cities should run on solar energy.
China hopes to realize its ambitions to become the world leader in the field of photovoltaics. New power plants provide 88 GW to power the country each year until 2030. It took only five years for China to gain the 80% market share of the planet.
China’s production of gas and coal are expected to gradually decline in favor of electric power. The United States plans by 2050 to cover at least 80% of its territory.
The UN IPCC experts suggest that renewable energy, by 2050, will be an alternative to other more harmful energies to the environment.
In technological progress, researchers are about to find a cheaper solution by offering solar cells incorporating perovskite, a cheap material that has interesting properties.