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Renewable Solar and Wind Energy

Essay by   •  July 25, 2016  •  Research Paper  •  1,719 Words (7 Pages)  •  1,029 Views

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Renewable Solar and Wind Energy

Global economy is still powered by coal, oil, and natural gas which provide four-fifth of the world’s energy and two-thirds of our electricity. As estimated world’s fossil fuel and oil are known to be last for about next 50 to 60 years, scientists all over the world have been searching and studying for alternative and sustainable energy sources. Several perpetually renewable sources including energy from sun, wind, geothermal heat, and ocean water had been discovered and harnessed in some nations. According to the textbook, these sources are called, “new renewables” because “they are just beginning to be used on a wide scale in our modern industrial society, they are harnessed using technologies still in a rapid phase of development, and they will likely play much larger roles in the future” (Withgott 367). Solar and wind energies are most common and potential energy to be developed.

Simply defining solar energy, it is converted vast and inexhaustible energy; hydrogen to helium through nuclear fusion, from the sun to power human consumption. Solar energy is also represented as a clean and silent alternative to the fossil fuels which polluting air, water, and soil, threatening public health, and even contributing global warming. Today’s study indicates that all the energy stored in Earth is matched by the energy collected from 20 days of sunshine because solar energy contains about 1,300 watts per square meter. The simplest way of harnessing solar energy is using “passive solar energy collector”. It is designed buildings to maximize absorption of sun light in the winter and minimize in the summer. Otherwise using designing feature, some buildings have systems that collecting and storing solar energy through the large, flat boxes painted black covered with glass on the rooftop of buildings. Those energy is used for space and water heating and space cooling.

Images of large dark, glossy, and flat panels are horizontally lined up in the middle of desert would pop up in people’s mind when they think of solar system and those images are more likely to be “Solar Thermal Concentrating Systems” or “Concentrated Solar Power (CSP)”. This system can produce extremely high temperature; high as 3,000 degrees Celsius, and can be used in industrial applications or to produce electricity. It is beneficial due to its possibility of storing the sun’s heat energy for later use while the sun in not shining. CSP can be divided into three main designs which are parabolic troughs, parabolic dishes, and central receivers.

Parabolic troughs are the most common system with long, curved mirrors that gather the sun energy into a liquid inside of tube which runs parallel to the mirror. It has had the greatest commercial success of the three other solar concentrator designs so far. Parabolic dishes are similar to trough, but they focus the sunlight on a single point and produce much higher temperatures. Parabolic dishes can produce electricity more efficiently. Lastly, central receiver is also called “power tower”, designed to be a 17-acre field of mirrors concentrating sunlight on the top of an 80-meter tower. Intensely boiled water produce steam that runs 10-megawatt generator at the base.

Electricity can also be generated from sunlight using “photovoltaic (PV) systems”. According to the article, How Solar Energy Works from Union of Concerned Scientists, it said, “In 1839, French scientist Edmund Becquerel discovered that certain materials would five off a spark of electricity when struck with sunlight. This photoelectric effect was used in primitive solar cells made of selenium in the late 1800s. Within a few years, these photovoltaic (PV) cells were powering spaceships and satellites” (4). In an easy way to explain, PV cells convert sunlight to electrical energy when light strikes one of a pair of plates made primarily of silicon, a semiconductor that conducts electricity.

Photovoltaics cell has very important components of two layers which composed of silicon crystals. The bottom layer bonds with the silicon to facilitate a positive charge (P) that is doped with boron. The top layer bonds with the silicon to facilitate a negative charge (N). Because each individual cells generates very little power; less than two watts, most PV systems consist of individual cells are grouped together as modules.

Solar energy is very beneficial as it does not produce any contaminant and noise, it is renewable and sustainable, can be installed on rooftops, reduces electricity bills, it has high availability, and needs low maintenance. As it is using natural source, solar energy system does not produce pollutant. It might have few contaminants through the process of assembling panels such as gadgets in industrial facilities, and transportation of the merchandise. However, it will not produce pollutants any further once they are installed. Also, solar panels can be installed on the rooftops which can minimize the space usage. Another advantage of using solar system is that this energy is renewable and sustainable source. Unlike fossil fuels, solar energy will last for another 6.5 billion years unless the sun is naturally expired. Furthermore, sunlight is available all over the nations and can be used easily during the day time. Solar panels are required low maintenance because they do not involve any moving parts and last for 20-25 years. They just need to be cleaned couple times in a year. The last advantage of solar system is that they are

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