|Posted by firstname.lastname@example.org on February 10, 2012 at 12:10 AM||comments (0)|
Advantage #4 - Sunlight is Clean
Fossil fuels -- the primary form of energy that our industrialized nations use -- gives off plenty of harmful gases and chemical byproducts whenever it is burned. These gases combine in the atmosphere to create a nearly invisible cloud of smog that contributes to the "dubious" global warming effect.
While there are a lot of people who want to debate the existence of global warming, there is now doubt about the fact that our planet is getting unexplainably warmer. The currents of the oceans are starting to shift, thanks to this new trend, and the polar ice caps are beginning to melt. New superstorms have started to form and each year bring bigger disasters than the last.
While people would like to point out that it is difficult to draw a correlation between our energy sources and these new disasterous weather patterns, that difficulty is decreasing with each passing year as the trend becomes more set and measurable. Unless we find a way to quit polluting the air, we are in for some pretty devastating times.
Advantage #3 -Sunlight Can Be Obtained Anywhere
One of the biggest areas where solar panels are use are in remote outposts. Canadians and Alaskans often use solar power as their only source of energy, even though they often receive less sunlight than other parts of North America. Because sunlight is available everywhere, solar panels are usable anywhere.
The U.S. military is beginning to notice the potential advantage solar power can offer them in the battlefield. Studies are under way to try to find methods in which they can use solar energy as a replacement for their fuel-hungry generators. The hope is that by reducing or eliminating their reliance on generator power, our military can operate safely in remote outposts for long periods of time without having to be constantly refueled.
Third world countries also stand to benefit greatly from solar power. Right now, the power created in these countries is extremely dirty and unreliable. Surprisingly, however, the clean, reliability of solar energy is very slow to reach these parts of the world. Hopefully, we will begin to see a shift in the thinking as they quit copying the industrialized nations and start choosing reliable options that are more viable for long-term use.
Advantage #2 - Sunlight is Free
Right now, solar technology is still rather expensive. The average homeowner can easily expect to spend close to $30,000 for a solar installation that will entirely replace Grid-powered electricity. However, once installed, it contnues to convert sunlight into electricity for years to come with absolutely no interruption.
Typically with in 12-20 years a solar panel installation has completely paid for itself and is making free electricity. The only challenge with solar energy, then, is finding the commitement and funds for the intial installation. Most homeonwer understandably do not have the next 20 years of their electric bill just sitting around waiting to be converted into solar panels. This means that most homeowners find themselves getting loans to fund their solar projects -- and who wants to pay interest on their electric bill?
However if we could ever find a way to get solar panels down to the cost of about $1 per watt of potential, we will have achieved "grid parity" and can likely expect a large influx of people rapidly converting to solar energy.
Advantage #1 - There's Too Much Sunshine!
I say that somewhat sarcastically, but let's face it. There is more sunlight out there than we can ever even remotely hope to use. Each hour, the sun provides the earth with enough energy to meet the world's energy needs for the next year.
The real challenge is then creating a method which will efficiently convert sunlight into electricity. Right now, solar panels can only convert 17% of the energy they receive. Other solar power plants which use the thermal energy of sun are starting to see some higher conversion rates, but still not at costs low enough to completely displace modern electricity.
However, when you consider that this is clean energy which will not harm the atmosphere -- maybe we should be paying a little bit more.
Here are more Advantages of Solar Energy
Or you can read about the Disadvantages of Solar Energy
|Posted by email@example.com on February 9, 2012 at 2:35 PM||comments (0)|
I am very intrigued by the concept of wind solar power. It is an extremely powerful idea which uses a lot fo existing technology to create electricity from the sun. They use a lot less heat than other designs making them safer, and they do not require complicated mirror arrays or tracking technology in order to harness the sun's energy.
The higher into the air you go, the greater the pressure difference. That is one reason why chimneys for factories and powerplants are so tall. This difference in pressure will naturally suck air out from the bottom and create an updraft.
In order to encourage the air to move more swiftly, the base of these towers are surrounded with a "plastic tent" which collects the sunlight and creates a warm-air environment. The differences in both pressure and temperature creates a powerful updraft which rushes through the tower, producing electricity from a wind turbine stored in the tower.
Plus, the ground underneath the plastic sheeting can be lined with sand or rocks to create a heat sink that can create power into the night. Other ideas include using the base of the tower as a greenhouse that can produce greens for the community.
There is talk of creating 400 MW solar towers in Namibia Africa. We can only hope that they will truly be a success.
|Posted by firstname.lastname@example.org on February 9, 2012 at 1:05 PM||comments (0)|
Solar Disadvantage #3 - Must be South-Facing
This really does not seem like much of a problem until you consider that a surprising number of homes -- especially ones in the city -- are not designed with south-facing roofs. This means that any solar panels installed will need to be angled towards the sun, making them more noticeable and unattractive.
In addition, when you angle solar panels, you have to work harder to keep the from overlapping, and often cannot install as many of them due to a lack of rooftop space or tolerance of the roof to handle the greater windshear the angled panels will collect.
So while a lot of people might be apt to overlook this fact, it is going to become a more problematic issue once more people finally decide to try using solar panels.
Solar Disadvantage #2 - Inefficient
Right now, solar panels are not nearly efficient enough. The most efficient solar panels have only about 17% efficiency. This means that more solar panels have to be installed to help compensate for the lack of efficiency.
So what's the big deal? Just put up more panels! I mean, the cost per watt is not changing!
Well, here's the problem:
Right now, the earth receives about 1 Kilowatt of power for every square meter of land. If we could convert 100% of that sunlight into electricity then we the average home would only need 3-5 square meters of land.
For those of you who are bad at metric (like myself), that would be 54 square feet of land. Why, we waste more than that amount on our driveways alone!
However, remember that out solar panels can only convert about 17% of the energy they receive. In order to compensate for that loss of energy, we need to install about 300 square feet of solar panels. (5 kilowatt system)
Thankfully even the smallest of houses (like the 1,000 square foot house I live in) will have at least 500 square feet of roof space they can use.
But is it southward-facing?
And what homeowner wants to cover their roof line with panels?
Oh, and if you want to make extra electricity to store for night time use, you will need additional panels.
Solar Disadvantage #1 - Costly
Finally, we get to the real bugger: Solar panels are expensive.
Because sunlight is free, solar panels do eventually pay for themselves, but you can expect to pay anywhere from 8 to 12 years of your electricity bills upfront in order to install solar panels. If you don't have that kind of pocket cash, then you will also have to pay interest on it as well.
Typically you can purchase the panels themselves for anywhere from $4-6 per watt. Then, of course, you also have to pay for the rest of the solar components such as the inverters and battery backups.
And, since so few people are able to afford solar panels, there is only the smallest market for them, leaving the development of more efficient and less expensive solar panels in the hands of a few colleges and universities with their limited grant funds to develop the rest of the way.
Read more about the Disadvantages of Solar Energy
Read more about the Advantages of Solar Energy