Table of Contents
Concept of Solar Energy
Sun as we know is the very reason of our existence. Without sun life on earth would not have been possible at all. That means sun is the primary and only major source of all living creatures on earth.
Solar energy is the direct energy, both heat and light energy derived from sunlight that is used by technology and converted into other useful forms to mankind.
We all know that plants prepare food by using sunlight and carbon-di-oxide and release oxygen in the process. This process is called photosynthesis. Humans require sunlight to produce vitamin ‘D’ in their bodies.
Be it directly in the form of the food we eat or indirectly in the form of its energy stored in fossil fuels, sun is the core producer, the major source of all energy we have on our planet.
This energy is making the earth bloom into a green and blue emerald like suspension in the universe.
In the present era, energy is the most precious substance which everyone is facing a shortage of.
Energy serves as the fuel not just for running industries and vehicles, it is very well required by us at home for every other necessity that we have, right from lighting to cooking etc.
The renewable and non-renewable sources of energy
Further, energy can be classified into renewable and non-renewable energy sources. Renewable are those that can be replenished and are available for many more years to come.
Among them are the wind energy, solar energy, tidal energy etc. The non- renewable energy sources are those that are depleting at a very fast rate and protective measures are being taken for their conservation.
Conventional energy sources like Coal and Fossil fuels give us our essential needs of crude oil, petrol, diesel, natural gases etc.
But their reserves are limited by the quantity. With global population growing at a tremendous rate along with rampant development, industrialization and urbanization, energy needs have definitely sky rocketed and the demand is much more than the supply levels.
They are not evenly distributed hence certain countries have advantage over others. Oil producing countries export oil to countries that have poor oil availabilities and are hence considered the hay making countries of today.
Oil prices fluctuate by the day and there is an ever increasing demand for this market now. Also, their extraction and transportation are a challenge in itself but inevitable. These non-renewable energy sources are harming our planet.
Due to burning of these fuels enormous amount of harmful gases like carbon dioxide, methane and oxides of Sulphur and nitrogen, along with toxic heavy metals and poisonous particles are released into the atmosphere.
These harmful and toxic substances in turn impact our climate and pose a threat to humans, animals and plant life alike, causing torrential and untimely rains, floods, hurricanes, acid rains etc in various parts of the world and spread fatal diseases worldwide.
These poisonsous gases are known as the “Greenhouse gases”. Global temperature rises in turn increasing the sea level and severely affecting our ecosystem.
Alternate sources of energy
It was not very late that man realized the need to look out for alternative energy sources which could be used in place of the existing sources of energy.
But care was taken to look into the lieu falls / to address problems associated with conventional sources of energy without hampering their functioning. In this search we finally realized and understood importance of solar energy.
Sun does not discriminate as a provider of energy. Having said that, it simply means sunlight is far more evenly distributed in populated regions of the world compared to fossil fuels.
We have been using the energy of sun since time immemorial for cooking, water heating and drying things.
To understand it in simple words, consider the warmth felt under sun during winters and the visibility it gives during daytime. It has been a widely accepted phenomenon by all of us.
Sunlight poses energy in the form of heat and light.
Harnessing this energy from sun by capturing its rays in the form of sunlight and converting them suitably into other forms of energy by means of science and technology can be directed into an array of use in many applications.
We are already aware that plants are the only living organisms that can convert energy from sun naturally and store it by the process of photosynthesis.
When animals eat fruits from plants, this energy gets transferred from one creature to the other and this happens in the form of a food chain. This is why you are able to perform better when who have eaten properly.
Humans are developing numerous ever-evolving technologies to capture this solar energy and store it as power, which can be relayed and used efficiently by not only living beings but machines too.
Advantages of solar energy
To be able to use solar energy in various forms requires conversion of solar energy to electrical, mechanical, and thermal and many other energy forms.
Currently photovoltaics cells, solar panels are used. With a technology driven thinking, the scientific society is enabling a better usage of the resource with maximum potential of tapping it for the betterment of the society.
Solar energy has lot of advantages – It is a renewable energy source, which means that, like the limited reserves of fossil fuels, solar energy would not get exhausted as long as humans exist on Earth.
Solar energy would continue to drive human society till many million years to come and in short sight, it is definitely not going to vanish. The better we tap the resource, the better the usage and the related applications.
To add to the advantages, solar energy opens up an avenue of clean energy, which would do the least harm to our environment.
Utilization of solar energy would not require burning the resources as incase of fossil fuels, so no poisonous gases are emitted into the air.
It also reduces pollution to a great extent, is sustainable for a long time and can also mitigate global warming crisis.
It has long term global advantage. Its availability across nations would provide self-dependence to currently energy-dependent nations and give them freedom to utilize energy with customizations and specific country needs.
Today major part of imports in developing countries is of crude oil. The global market is highly influenced by the prices of oil.
High concentration in Middle East has led to heavy dependence from other countries on countries in this region of the world for oil requirements.
Solar energy would require formal setup of employment estates. From innovation in harnessing technology to development of panels.
Infrastructure for solar park, storage of power, its distribution etc. would provide labor intensive job opportunities.
Better employment opportunities and skilled workforce is a big asset for any country as they give economy a great boost.
Society will experience a shift from conventional energy sources to renewable and clean energy sources, which will further lead to less disease occurrences and also less expenditure on health.
Our electricity bills, fuel bills would drastically reduce on account of this if solar energy sources are made more compatible and hence would become pretty affordable and cheap.
Solar enabled or electric vehicle would be used more on roads and drastic technological development and automation is the automobile industry would be witnessed.
Solar energy does not require transportation overseas. Installation is simple and widely done over rooftop, which is already in many places.
Setting up large farm is expensive initially but maintenance of solar power plants is relatively easy, affordable and efficient.
Disadvantages of solar energy resources
One can’t ignore the limitations of solar energy resources, considering the nascent stages of its harnessing technologies and implementation processes. Some of the major limitations are:
The most obvious limitation is that solar energy can only be harnessed during daytime when there is ample sunlight available. At night times, solar energy cannot be used.
During winter seasons, sunlight would be dim and mild. When it’s rainy, clouds block sunlight from penetrating and hence we would hardly receive bright sunlight for our applications enabled with solar energy.
The cost of deploying panels, collectors as well as solar cells for the generation of solar energy is very high and the manufacturing cost of the collectors and devices is also quite high initially.
Even though solar power stations are easy to build, the amount of energy harnessed here is very less compared with the output of conventional power stations of the same capacity.
Large acres of land are definitely required for the deployment of solar energy plants and panels and for capturing the energy coming from sun.
Also in places where there is no ample amount of solar energy available, it is very difficult to produce electricity from sun’s energy.
In order to overcome these hurdles, we would require technology advancements and intensified research with the aid of grants from premier educational institutions and research organizations of the country.
Above all, with commercial and large-scale success in the wide arena of Solar energy deployments, the energy crisis we face in remote areas in irrigation, transport, electricity and agriculture would be resolved.
It will further help reduce the unequal distribution of resources and opportunities. Solar energy can take human civilization to a new level and is no doubt a promise to “Sunny and Bright Future”.