Renewable energy is growing in popularity—so much that many industries are now exploring ways to inexpensively implement renewable energy systems into various facets of daily life. Renewable energy, for example, is finally being implemented into consumer model vehicles, generally in the form of electricity or hydrogen fuel cells.
But, renewable energy has now found a home as a primary energy source in all sorts of buildings.
Solar energy is, perhaps, the most popular form of renewable energy out there. It’s now found in different types of business and residential buildings—and, for a good reason, too.
The Basics of Solar Energy
Solar energy is the radiant heat and light that’s gathered from the Sun, generally through using different technologies to make gathering such raw light and heat energy possible. Some of the most common solar energy technologies include solar photovoltaics, solar heating, solar thermal energy, solar architecture and artificial photosynthesis.
Going deeper into the types of technologies used to harness solar energy reveals two different groups of energies: active solar technology and passive solar technology.
Active solar technology involves the use of photovoltaic systems, solar water heating and concentrated solar power. These technologies increase the available supply of solar energy, best known as a ‘supply side technology.’
Passive solar technology involves the use of constructing buildings in accordance with the Sun’s natural direction, choosing to build with materials that have a ‘favorable’ thermal mass and/or light dispersing properties, in addition to designing spaces that naturally circulate air. These technologies help reduce the need for having an alternative resource, best known as a ‘demand side technology.’
Solar energy is becoming more common for a reason, too. The International Energy Agency, back in 2011, commented that developing ‘affordable, long-lasting and cleaner solar energy technologies will end up producing large long term benefits.’
Not only that, the implementation of solar energy technologies around the world is expected to significantly increase the energy security of many countries, in addition to reducing pollution and enhancing sustainability while keeping global fuel prices down. Not bad for a renewable resource, huh?
So, solar energy tech is expected to do more positives for various nations around the world over the next few years.
But, it appears that not everyone is too thrilled about the implementation of solar energy—namely because they’re not quite sure whether such technology is sustainable over a certain period of time, let alone, for costs far less than what’s already out there. So, let’s learn why that’s the case.
Most people know solar energy as a positive for the environment, and it’s pretty easy to see why that’s the case.
1. Solar panels don’t pollute—in fact, the only known pollution involved with these panels is their manufacturing, delivery and installation process.
2. Solar energy doesn’t make noise when it’s converted into electricity. Other renewable and non-renewable energy sources do produce a lot of noise when producing electricity.
3. Solar energy can be harnessed in remote locations, specifically those not linked to a nationwide electricity grid.
4. Installing solar panels in remote locations is considered more cost effective than installing high voltage wires to deliver electricity to such locations.
5. Solar energy is considered very efficient in various parts of the world, particularly those with a sunnier climate. New solar technology also allows solar energy to be harnessed in overcast and/or dull weather.
6. Solar panels can easily be installed on most roofs, eliminating proposed issues with finding the right size panels for certain types of roofing.
7. Solar energy is inexpensive. Although the initial installation costs do cost a lot, solar energy system eventually earn out that cost over time. It generally costs no money to harness energy from a solar panel system.
Although solar energy works in many contexts, some people do have their doubts about this source of renewable energy.
1. The cost of solar energy cells. Prices for the most efficient solar energy systems cost well up to $1,000 USD. Not only that, some buildings may need more than one system to produce the energy they need.
2. Most solar energy systems only generate electricity during the daytime, making it so that a building only gets about a half-day’s worth of energy each day. Weather also affects how a solar energy system works.
3. Pollution can make a solar energy system work less effectively. Businesses that operate in industrial areas, to provide an example, probably wouldn’t be able to get the most out of a solar energy system.
Most people look at solar energy with fascination, while others regard solar energy as the primary way to provide electricity to their building or home. Although costs are what keeps most consumers from adapting this fascinating technology, many expect solar energy to be widely adapted in the coming decades, especially as people abandon fossil fuel energy for a cleaner energy resource.