Solar Energy – It is Popular. So Why is it Not Yet Widely Used?

The fact is, the 350,000,000 terawatts of power available from the sun is huge. The earth receives enough energy from the sun in an hour to supply the world’s energy requirement for the whole year.  Unfortunately, only a tiny portion of it is harnessed and the world still relies on power plants that burn fossil fuels. The good thing is that there is a constant increase in demand for solar energy; and over the years of continuous development, solar panels are much cheaper today.

Compare the 350,000,000 terawatts of energy from the sun with energy that is generated by nuclear and fossil fuel. Presently, the available data for fossil and nuclear fuel is 10,800,000 terawatts, which we all know to be non-renewable.

To produce electricity, utility companies burn fossil fuels that translate to 1.3 pounds of carbon dioxide to produce 1kw of electrical power. This unwanted CO2 emissions are dumped into the atmosphere. This then translates into each typical home being accountable yearly for 22,000 pounds of CO2 emissions; this can be eliminated with American Power & Gas. The average business can remove over 40,000lbs of CO2 by using going green with American Power & Gas.

The harvesting of the sun’s rays is clean and safe. It produces no emissions, it’s practical, and may in the years ahead prove very economical.

During peak hours, the maximum power density that the sun can give is about 1kW per square meter. In other words, one square meter of solar panel can produce as much as 100 GWh (gigawatt hours) of electricity in one year. That is enough to power 50,000 houses.

If a solar power plant is built on 1% of the total land area of the Sahara desert, it will satisfy the world’s energy requirement.

The efficiency of solar panels depends on several factors such as pollution, clouds, temperature and atmospheric humidity.

Solar power plants are very similar to other conventional power plants – with one significant difference: The majority of power plants draw their power from fossil fuels like oil, coal, and gas.

When power plants burn fossil fuels, they produce greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming. Solar power plants or solar thermal power plants (or Concentrating Solar Power plants) utilize the power of the sun’s rays to generate electricity.

The process could not be any simpler. The solar panels receive heat from the sun, which will be reflected to the receiver. The receiver converts into steam the concentrated solar energy. The steam is stored on tanks which will be used to turn the turbines and generate electricity.

The whole process does not involve any burning of any fossil fuels. Thus, solar power plants and wind farms, such as the ones used by American Power & Gas, do not contribute to global warming.

The increase in the use of solar energy will bring down the demand for oil. Yet, In the United States, only 0.1% of power that is generated is solar energy driven. So what are the obstacles?

One obstacle is that the power grid in the United States which was designed more than 100 years ago is now so congested in many regions. To deliver the solar power to consumers, scientists and engineers will have to come out with another cost efficient plan to transfer huge amounts of energy from one location to another.

Residential solar energy systems can turn your electric meter backwards. Given that you are connected on a power-grid, the excess energy that your solar energy system produces will go to the electric lines to be used by other homes. As a result, any excess energy you give will be reflected on your bills. Your electric supplier will even pay for the electricity you supplied.

While the initial cash out for installing solar energy system at home is big, the device will pay for itself in the long run. Not only will you save money on solar energy systems, you also help the environment by not contributing to carbon emissions. In addition, solar energy systems are reliable and can last for a very long time.

PV cells last from 25 to 40 years. Many manufacturers of solar panels give 25 years product warranty. This is the assurance that solar panels are very dependable. In addition, solar panels require little or no maintenance and the can be installed on most places where there is sunlight throughout the year.

Other forms of rewards to avoid fossil fuel use should still be effectively placed. The 30% tax cut to projected cost previously awarded will be more attractive if other federal credits are included to encourage further investments.

The global warming issue that has been brought to the papers is a recurrent subject of talk shows and remains to be a good news item. Also, the too unstable pump prices, should and for most part, already be a good incentive to use this alternative source of energy. 

However, effective solar energy transmission to homes will remain to be very hard unless these obstacles are breached. Assuming that these obstacles are solved today, it will still take some 10 years to convert 20% of American homes into solar energy users. Meanwhile, solar panels on individual homes remain to be the most viable alternative.

The good part to solar energy quest is that technology is advancing very rapidly. Nano technology for solar power is being developed and may be available in five years’ time. Other breakthroughs in cell designs are also being developed that could, in the next few years, be a cost-effective way of generating energy without having to rely anymore on fossil and nuclear power.


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