The History and Application of Solar Energy

Solar energy is an energy use that has been widely used around the world. But where and when was this useful source of energy founded? Well Solar energy was first introduced in 1768. Horace de Saussure introduced solar energy in Switzerland when he built the first solar collector. Reassurances of solar energy usage stared becoming a common trend. In 1838 Edmond Becquerel once a again observed the usage of solar energy. He published all of his research and results about converting sunlight into energy. If it weren’t for discoveries and research like these, then we would have never known all the opportunities and benefits of using solar energy.

Over time more and more civilians all over began to utilize solar energy. Today, many factories, homes, equipment, ect. are dependent on solar energy. Our school, Campo Verde High School, for example is a great example of a facility dependent on solar energy. We were able to make our school more eco friendly simply by installing solar panels to get some of the energy, heat, and electricity that we need.

Solar energy is the main source of energy in our town of Robsonville. It is able to provide all the necessities that we need to keep our town running. Without the use of solar energy our town would not only be damaging the environment, but it would also require another source of energy to be installed which would change the dynamics of the function of our town.

Usage of Solar Energy

The solar energy that we produce and utilize as the main source of energy in our town is used for many purposes. We use it to heat the air in places like the hospital, homes, schools, and more. We also use it for providing hot water throughout all places within the town. Lastly, we use it as a source of electricity. It provides all electricity through our town.

Solar energy is useful for all of the aspects listed above, however the one downfall to using solar energy is that it does not provide gas. For that, we have small oil holes dug up for provide the fuel end gas needed. On the bright side, most cars and appliances used in our town are electricity generated, meaning most of the things we use need electricity (not gas/oil) to allow them to operate. This being said, our gas and oil yearly intake is very minuscule. In addition to electricity, many appliances rely on heat. Solar energy has a high output of heat. It is able to heat up anything that electricity cannot. That being said, heat and electricity (which are both produced by solar energy) are able to support nearly all the things used within our town.

There are different types of solar energy collectors that give out different types of energy. Solar collectors provide space heating or hot water. Solar cells provide electricity, converted from the sun. Power towers, although not economical, also provides electricity. Luz solar helps the solar collectors heat a synthetic oil that drives steam turbines. Last but not least are the solar ponds that “generate low temperature water.”

If it weren’t for solar energy our town would give off high pollution and damage the environment. Not only that, but we would have to find many other options of energy source to keep our town running as smooth as possible. Bottom line: solar energy has given us success.

Solar Energy Changes Over Time

How do we tell if solar energy has changed over time? Based on the amount over energy it has produced and how it has flocculated, we can tell if and how it has changed over months, years, and even decades. Today, solar energy is more advanced than ever before. We are now able to produce solar energy quicker and more efficiently than ever before. Now, we can produce it in a way that allows us to utilize more of it. Today, solar energy is used for more. With the increase in technology, more heat and electricity are being used and operated with to create “today’s latest.” Fuel-efficient cars (that run on electricity) are being created, and with the advantages of solar energy those cars are able to be made and sold.

Today, many more civilians are familiar with, and want to help the environment. Solar energy is a great and easy way that people can help out with preserving the beauty that we have. Many homes, schools, and cooperate businesses install solar panels to cut back on electricity and gas usage. By doing this, less fumes enter the environment. Little things like these make a huge impact on the future of our environment.

Today solar energy has advanced and changed in a great way, and today more people than ever are aware of environmental problems and use solar energy to do their share of help in society.

The Cost

According to solar energy-usa, a “larger 30 panel system that has a total output of 6,900 watts (6.9kW) costs $5 dollars per watt.” Many solar panel energy systems are also available for lease (thesolarco.com). Wholesalesolar.com offered them, according to model, type, and other factors, ranging in price anywhere from $0.95 to $2.28 per watt. This is extremely cost-effective to harness and provide because it comes from sunlight, which is unlimited. It will always be available for humans to use for as long as the sun is shining, and it is a renewable source with virtually unlimited supply! The average electrical energy use per person in 2010 was approximately 11,496 kilowatt-hours per year (eia.gov). The above mentioned 30 panel system would provide 6,900 watts, a significant reduction in solar energy that needs to be paid for. This would result in savings for the consumer and greener possibilities of energy sources, which is better for the environment.

There are also many other financial incentives for using solar energy, such as no-interest financing, tax deductions, savings on energy bills, and rebates (solarenergy-usa.com). Maintenance for solar energy panels is seldom needed, although it is recommended that they be checked occasionally for cleanliness and to ensure they are still in good working order (thesolarco.com). However, this can be done by the consumer and does not require a paid professional. Costs for solar energy panels are calculated in kilowatts of energy rather than BTU’s or joules. The amount of energy available from sunlight is infinite, waiting to be harvested. For these reasons, installing solar panels is a very good idea toward moving to a more eco-friendly society, with more energy-efficient resources. Using solar energy in our town will decrease energy costs in the long run, as well as reducing the waste and CO2 emissions used to procure energy. Our town will rely on the sun’s energy in order to power our schools, homes, apartments, businesses, and government facilities – increasing energy efficiency, and reducing harmful consequences of common forms of nonrenewable energy sources.

The efficiency

Solar energy is better at providing energy than many other sources, both renewable and nonrenewable, for many reasons. The sun’s energy is very versatile; it can be harvested even in places that are not extremely sunny, unlike wind turbines, which require large amounts of wind to be effective (1bog.org). In order to harvest hydropower energy, dams must be built, which are expensive and alter ecosystems (1bog,org). Burning biomass emits CO2, and growing crops used for biomass energy – such as sugarcane, takes up land in order to farm it (1bog,org). This land could be used for other purposes, and CO2 emissions could be avoided. Solar energy is better than nonrenewable resources for the obvious reasons that it will not run out. While the world’s coal, oil, and natural gas resources are used up by human consumption, sunlight will not run out, and can be used to generate a lot of power for an infinite amount of time without damaging the atmosphere or environment in any way, unlike fossil fuels and nonrenewable resources.

Fossil fuels, such as oil, petroleum, and natural gas are difficult to harvest because they are found in large concentrated quantities, with only a finite amount on the Earth (they do not regenerate fast enough to be considered renewable), and have an energy efficiency rating of 45% for oil, and 35% for coal, while solar energy panels can yield anywhere around 40% in the lab, put in the real world about 11-19% (1bog.org). Although solar energy panels are less efficient, it is made up by the unlimited quality of the resource. We will use solar energy to power our town, decreasing traditional nonrenewable-resource consequences such as CO2 emissions, destruction of land, depletion of limited supplies of nonrenewable resources, and human health consequences due to the modern harvesting of energy. Overall, solar energy is definitely a better choice for our town, for humans, and for the Earth.

Where is it used?

Solar energy is most widely used in residential, urban areas because it is so easily harvested. Generally, solar panels can be seen on rooftops of houses, mixed in with the roof so that it blends, while being in the best possible sun-harvesting spot on the property. Going through any given neighborhood, someone is likely to see at least a few houses with solar panels on top of them, and know that the resident is using the sun’s generous, infinite flow of energy to their advantage. Even on Campo Verde’s campus, we see solar panels on top of the ramada near the cafeteria, helping to harvest the sun’s energy. When someone sees a solar energy panel on top of a house, they can know that that energy is being used to power ovens, lights, televisions, computers, electronic chargers, radios, and even garage door openers.

Solar energy will be used in our town in the form of several large panels to power the majority of the town, which will be located near the railroad. There will also be a few other solar panels that will be spaced out, including one near the single-family home neighborhood to power those homes. Our solar energy panels will collect the sun’s rays constantly, and use it to power the town, including schools, individual homes, shopping centers, and industrial facilities. Utilizing this valuable, infinite resource will be very beneficial to our town, as it will only require an investment in the beginning, and lower energy costs overall, in the long run.

It will also be more eco-friendly because it does not emit any CO2 or alter the Earth’s landscape (harming ecosystems) at all. It does not pose health problems to humans like many fossil fuels do, so investing in solar energy is definitely a good idea for our town. Installing solar panels all over town, on roofs of houses, and using massive panels dispersed throughout the town will help to power our town and make it one of the most eco-friendly energy creating towns in America.

The positives

Solar energy is used very widely throughout the world. It is often regarded as zero emissions energy, or often regarded to not contribute to the greenhouse effect. Enough solar energy falls on a 100-square-mile area of the southwestern United States to power the entire nation, which is good, because solar energy is among the worlds cleanest forms of energy. One positive effect it has, is that it releases only a little carbon dioxide. This is good because with a growing problem with our atmosphere, if we were to use solar energy we would not be contributing to it. This also helps what people know as the climate change, because as global warming occurs due to our energy use, solar energy will be a way to use energy and not contribute to the growing problem. Another positive effect would be the lack of water consumption.

With other ways of energy we use mass amounts of water to produce the energy. In the U.S., electricity production accounts for more than 40 percent of all daily freshwater withdrawals. To create solar energy, takes little if no water. This will help reduce the amount of fresh water out country is using to create energy. Also, if we are to use solar energy, we can help cut down on the land space used. Solar energy panels are often put of rooftops of building, opposed to having to be at a power plant, . By having the population use solar energy, we can save space. There is also a visual aspect to using solar panels. Some people believe when you put solar panels on a building, or in nature, it evokes positive feelings, and can be considered beautiful. Some may disagree, but its all in the eye of the beholder.

The Negatives

Negative effects of solar energy are very minimal because solar energy is the cleanest form of energy that exists right now. Most of the side effects of solar energy are often overlooked, and go unnoticed because there are so many positive effects of it. One negative effect solar energy has is that it does actually release carbon dioxide into the air. Carbon dioxide is released in the manufacturing and distributing of solar panels to houses and offices. This often goes unnoticed, because most products will have the same situation, but it is an effect that is present. This will bust the idea that solar panels are a zero emissions form of energy. Also because we are making these solar panels on such bigger scales, we are bound to release forms of toxins into our atmosphere. Another concern of solar energy is that utility scale parabolic and central tower solar energy systems use steam plants to produce power, often relying on water for cooling. This water used cannot be reused, and there for creates a strain on freshwater in that surrounding area.

People often look at solar energy as being most land efficient, but utility scale solar farms do require large amounts of land to produce electricity on a commercial scale. This is due to the growing size of our solar farms. One main negative effect would have to be the hazardous waste problems. People have found evidence that solar panels, mainly ones present of a solar farm, release harzardous waste into our environement. When we concentrate solar panels together solar energy systems may also use potentially hazardous materials like oils and molten salts, creating the potential for spills. The last negative effect solar energy has on the environment, is the visual aspect. Some people believe solar energy gives of positive connotation, and is, therefore beautiful, but many disagree. Most find it revolting to put solar panels in a peaceful nature setting. I would have to be one that agrees.

Future Plans

Research shows that solar energy is one of the most efficient energy sources. Because of this, plans for solar energy include just expanding it. They plan to find more opportunities to incorporate solar energy into our world. This includes installing solar panels in more business and corporation settings. This will benefit the company because solar panels are often very inexpensive. One plan is to find a way to make it three dimensional for more efficiency. Right now, scientists at MIT and other prominent universities and companies around the world are developing new designs for these panels.m By making them three dimensional you can use solar panels on even the cloudiest of days. These 3D panels are expected to provide more than twice the energy compared to traditional flat panels. Within a few years, 3D panels are going to replace flat models entirely.

The government also plans to have government run solar fields. These fields provide a large amount of power, which the government can then distribute where ever it may be needed. In the future, more companies will construct these fields all over the world to provide clean, safe energy everywhere. Also, there is plans to find ways to lower the cost. By lowering the cost of solar panels we give more incentive to those who are spending more on their energy bills. The cost will be lower, because solar panels are going to be able to last around 30 years longer due to new technology. The cost of operating and maintaining solar energy is so low means that the future may bring lower energy prices to individuals around the world. Lower energy costs will allow individuals more freedom and can also provide energy for countries that cannot afford the high prices of current fossil fuels.

Why continue?

Humans should continue using solar panels as a way to obtain energy because it is one of the easiest way to get energy. While using coal and other types of fossil fuels, the industry would have to burn a lot of these nonrenewable resources. Not only is it a dirty method, it emits many harmful pollutants into the atmosphere, such as sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and also carbon dioxide. While being mined, it can cause environmental damages such, erosions and habitat destruction. For coal mining, it can be dangerous for the miners because it can be collapse and have gas explosion.

It is almost the same for oil mining and it can cause many negative effects, such as killing marine organisms whenever there are oil spills. Solar energy is a safer energy-producing technique than nuclear energy. While nuclear energy can produce a great amount of electricity, it is very dangerous when dealing with the plants. It has overruns, poor management, and numerous regulations. When there is an accident, the whole surrounding place will be covered in radioactive materials and there isn’t a way, as of yet, to clean it up. The radioactivity is very harmful and hazardous towards human health.

So therefore solar energy is one of the best ways to to use, especially in the future. In the future, there will be less nonrenewable resource so relying on solar energy will be a definite. Solar energy does not cause any pollutants into the air that the people breathe, making it safer for the people. It may be used passively or actively. Buildings can use it, or it can be placed within buildings. It will work in cloudy weathers, meaning solar energy can be used whenever. Solar energy can cause electricity for homes, industry, agriculture, heat, and fuel. Out of the renewable solar energy, solar energy produces the most electricity. Today, the use of solar energy is growing rapidly, almost 30 percent each year. Overall solar energy is the better option out of all the other renewable energy because it is the most efficient.

Best energy because…

For this city, Robsonville, it is probably the best way to get energy through the use of solar energy. Based on the original map that was given. It was mainly barren land, mixed in with random forests. Because the forests had to be cut down to make space for the city, it is safe to assume that the temperature around that area has also changed, either hotter or colder. Assuming that the land was warmer, it can be guessed that the solar energy will be able to obtain the heat and give back energy. There’s also the fact that solar panel does not need massive space like wind mills or any other types of energy-producing methods. Because there are no trees blocking the sun; the solar panels are able to get as much sunlight as the sun gives, sucking everything coming into its way. Because of the lack of space that can be used, there is a need to have something smaller and still efficient, which is why solar energy is much easier than other places.

Energy that comes from solar energy is free. Net energy is moderate to high. There is a quick installation so because this city is new, everything should be done quick. There is a very low land disturbance which is good since there are still three to four natural habitat around the city, so planners wouldn’t want to disturb anything that aren’t theirs. For passive methods, the cost is generally less than the expensive resources.

In this city, the main sources come from the active solar panels which gives a fairly high net energy and works on cloudy days, which can be good for anyone. It can expand or be moved around, just in case there are other developments coming along the way. The greatest thing is it can last to 20 to 30 years, meaning for a new city, it will come a long way, and lasts long compared to the nonrenewable resources. Overall, solar panels is the best way for a new city to get the energy needed.

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