Image by Fotolia.com, courtesy of circotasu
Solar energy has been heating our planet for billions of years, and modern scientists have learnt how to harness this power to create electricity and other energies. Since solar energy is natural and does not cause pollution, it is preferred to other sources such as oil or coal. Solar panels are expensive, however, and few people can currently afford to switch over from fossil fuels to solar energy.
Where Does Solar Power Come From?
Solar radiation, emanating from the Sun, keeps the Earth warm. Anywhere daylight hits the earth, solar radiation can be collected, but the greatest amount of energy can be collected in deserts close to the equator.
How Can This Power Be Used?
Solar energy can be used to heat the water or air in homes, offices, greenhouses, stores, warehouses, garages, and so on.
Solar cells are made from groups of panels, which collect sunlight and immediately convert it into electricity. Many watch and calculator batteries use solar cells, but the use of solar cells large enough to heat an entire house is not yet very common.
How Powerful Is Solar Energy?
Most solar panels today are only powerful enough to light a single light bulb, so thousands of panels would be needed to provide electricity to an entire house. By storing the energy in batteries, the power can be saved until later.
Will Everyone Be Using Solar Electricity in the Near Future?
It is doubtful that the entire United States or the world will be using mostly solar energy within a few years, but it is possible that solar power could be the dominant energy source in your lifetime. A lot of time, money, and materials are needed to switch over from oil and coal.
- Image by Fotolia.com, courtesy of circotasu