Coastal Climate Action - Doing a little every day

Solar Energy, It'S All Under The Sun

How Does Solar Energy Work?

Solar energy is the oldest energy source in the planet and of the solar system. It has been used by all living organism since the beginning of life in our planet. Humans has harnessed the sun's energy centuries ago from using a simple magnifying glass to make a beam of heat to make fires, but it's just recently that people learned and fully understand the potential of this type of energy. Solar power today is one of the most efficient and cleanest power sources of alternative energy.

Solar energy is the energy released from the Sun in the form of heat and light. The sun continuously radiates electromagnetic waves which consist of several components of energy waves like x-rays, gamma rays, infrared, ultraviolet, radio waves, microwaves and visible rays.

Many of these energy waves are harmful to humans when exposed directly but are filtered out by the earth's upper atmosphere before it reaches the surface of the earth. Each year the planet's atmosphere absorbs 3.85 million exajoules of energy from the sun, humans consume 467 exajoules each year by using traditional energy sources like oil, gasoline, coal and that includes other green sources like wind, geothermal, and hydro power. If people will be able to capture at least 10%-20% of the sun's energy, traditional energy sources can be replaced with a clean and infinite power source. It can also be stored and used as a backup.

What Are The Ways of Harnessing This Infinite Energy Source?

The sun's energy is scattered and capturing it on a fixed point is quite a challenge. Developments in harnessing the sun's power have made it easier. Solar technologies are broadly characterized as either passive solar or active solar depending on the way it captures, converts and distribute solar power.

Techniques such as the use of photovoltaic panels and solar thermal collectors fall under active solar. Passive solar techniques on the other hand include orienteering a building to the sun, selecting material with favourable thermal mass or light dispersing properties and designing spaces that naturally circulate air.

A solar concentrator is a passive way of collecting the sun's energy by concentrating the rays to a central location. The concentrated light is then used to heat water to steam. The steam provides power to run the turbines and then produces electricity.

In the last three decades, solar technology is developing at a rapid rate. Solar energy is collected at several large plants in the US, Spain, Australia, Germany and other countries where it provides power directly to the grid.

Advancements in technology have made solar power collecting feasible and available for homes and businesses on a smaller scale. There are companies that offer services and installation of solar panels for home and office use. The development of affordable, inexhaustible and clean source of power will have huge and longer-term benefits. It will increase countries' energy security through an infinite resource, enhance sustainability, reduce pollution and keep traditional fossil fuels prices lower as stated by The International Energy Agency. Think of it, believe in it and support it. The answer is just under the sun.

About the Author:
Joseph is a solar panel salesman. He writes blogs about alternative power sources especially solar power to help inform and educate the public about its benefits
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By Joseph Rowland


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