Solar energy is the most reliable form of renewable energy obtained from the rays and heat of the sun. The rays and heat obtained from the sun during wide daytime are converted to electricity with the help of modern technologies. The heat and warmth of the sun are trapped by solar panels. Solar panels are installed on roofs of buildings.
There are two types of Solar Energy
- The energy which can be produced by the sun’s light is called photovoltaic energy. “Photovoltaic” means electricity from light, “photo” is light and “voltaic” stands for electricity. In this method, the energy of the sun is directly converted into the flow of electricity use cells.
- Reduced by the sun’s warmth is known as solar thermal energy. It harnesses solar energy to generate thermal energy. It is used in industries, apartments and another commercial sector.
Conversion of solar energy into electricity
Solar energy is converted into electricity mainly by using solar panels. Photons or power packets produced by the sun rays generate Direct Electricity(DC) in the solar panels. The silicon materials present in the solar panels the absorbed the photons when direct sunlight hits the panels.
After this, the electrons present in the atoms separate itself and move around the solar cells. This movement of electrons generates Direct Current(DC) which flows to the system inverter and gets converted into Alternating Current(AC).
Where should a solar panel place?
Solar panels are mostly mounted on rooftops but can be also placed in gardens and other areas. There should be no obstruction, the direct rays of the sunlight should hit the solar panels without any interruption. There should be no trees or higher buildings near the panels as they can be barriers. The energy can reduce to half if there are obstructions or shadows. For the Northern Hemisphere, the panels should face south and for the southern hemisphere, the panel should face north. The panels when mounted should be tilted. For the ideal tilt, the angle must be calculated on the basis of the region’s latitude.
Advantages of Using Solar Energy
- Renewable resource: Solar energy is the cleanest and most abundant form of energy. It is a renewable resource as sunlight is abundant.
- Saves money: Solar energy reduces the electricity bill. It saves money. With a few hours of sunlight, a whole building can have electricity for the entire day or two.
- Pollution Reduction: Using solar energy can reduce pollution. It keeps us from burning greenhouse gas-producing fossil fuels.
- Maintenance Cost: It has a low maintenance cost. Once installed, the panels can run for years though they must be checked from time to time.
- Diverse Application: Electricity produced from solar energy can be applied diversely. They are not only used in households or buildings, but they can also be used to run different kinds of machinery.
Solar energy has many advantages but everything has flaws.
A few disadvantages of solar energy are listed below
- The cost of installing solar panels is very high. Not everyone can afford this cost.
- Solar energy is completely dependent on the weather and climate of a place. Without proper sunlight, the solar panels don’t work. Thus cloud cover, rain or any kind of precipitation is not suited.
- Solar energy storage is expensive and needs a lot of space.
Solar energy and the Future
With the alarming increase in global warming, different kinds of pollution, use of natural and non-renewable resources, we are in dire need of a form of energy that can provide us a solution to all these problems. Solar energy is the future. With rapid changes in technology, power consumption is only increasing and by any means, we can’t see any decrease in power consumption in the future. We have used most of the non-renewable resources that can produce power.
Thus, by using solar energy we will not have to compromise with innovation. We can achieve the unimaginable in the near future with the use of the cleanest and most renewable source of energy.
Only we are not benefitted by the use of solar energy, Mother Earth is also benefitted. We have exploited nature harshly, we have polluted every ocean, every continent and every bit of air. If by using solar energy we can save some non-renewable resources which can help in pollution reduction then why not appreciate it.