There exists intriguing facts and figures concerning solar energy. Did you know that the sun is the ultimate source of energy supporting life on earth? It is also the fundamental prerequisite for the formation of any other type of energy.
Fossil fuel is a product of solar energy. It is through the dynamic process of photosynthesis that green plants grow. They convert solar energy into chemical energy that takes the form of food or wood. These are the sources of biomass or fossil fuels.
Early Application of Solar Energy
Another ancient application of solar energy is for the extraction of salt. Sunlight is used to evaporate saltwater in ponds to obtain salt.
Modern Uses of Solar Energy
The energy that the sun emits produces a type of electromagnetic radiation, which can be used to produce electricity, heat water and many other purposes.
Solar Energy & Hydropower
The sun is also responsible for rain. This occurs through a process of evaporation; water evaporates and does thereafter come back in the form of rain. This leads to the formation of rivers and dams. The streams of water are efficiently used to harness hydroelectricity power. There are already many countries relying on hydropower to provide an extensive amount of electricity. A great benchmark is Norway.
Advanced use of Solar Energy
Edmund Bacquerel, a French scientist did in 1839 discover the pure potential of solar energy. However, it was only later in the 50s that Bell’s scientists commenced the production of photovoltaic (PV) cells. These solar cells could practically convert roughly four percent of the sunlight energy into electricity. This is tremendously less than today’s solar cell technology.
Nowadays, Germany is one of the leading countries when it comes to solar energy. Nevertheless, countries like the United States of America are still relying mostly on fossil fuel to power all household appliances and electricity needs.
In the United States of America the energy supply is as follows:
1. Petroleum 38.1%
2. Bio-mass 2.9 %
3. Coal 23.2
4. Hydro Power 2.7%
5. Natural Gas 22.9%
6. Geothermal 0.3%
7. Uranium 8.1%
8. Wind 0.1%
9. Propane 1.7%
10. Solar & other 0.1%
Yet, an interesting point is that solar technology is advancing at a repaid speed. The cost of solar panels has decreased dramatically during the recent years. We can even see homeowners establishing solar systems on their dwellings within only a week.
Solar energy is becoming a ubiquitous technology. It is more accessible and cost effective than it was a decade ago. Solar energy is expected to become even more affordable in the years to come.
Source: How Does Solar Energy Work