Archive for December, 2009
When first mentioned there sounds nothing more green and healthier for the environment than a solar farm. It is a renewable source of energy and the greenest form of commercial energy. Solar Energy has become the leading alternative to costly and eco disasters of fossil fuels. The true nature and cost of large arrays of solar farms on the environment has yet to be decided. Now that it has become profitable for companies to venture into this modern day oil rush some people are thinking twice.
Everyone pretty much agrees that we do need cleaner and renewable sources of energy. The cost of the modern day industrial age has taken a great toll on the planet. The natural resources that have fed the technological age are dwindling while the planet heats up from its pollution. Solar energy is a must if we want to save our planet from the devastating factors causing high pollution and the sociological disaster that would happen if we were ever to run out of source of fuels. Solar energy is abundant and as long as the sun shines we will have an endless supply of it. It is clean and no waste comes from it. So the question is what is the problem?
The debate over solar farms is not that it produces clean reusable energy but what the exact impact these giant farms will have in the immediate surrounding environment. The most logical choices so far for energy or wanna be energy companies have been the western deserts of California, New Mexico, Nevada, etc. Though they appear to be a barren landscape, life teems within. A whole ecosystem strives here that cannot be simply destroyed over solar panels. Doing so would push back decades of conservation efforts already made against standard logging, development and energy exploration and mining. The fact that no giant solar farms have ever been built before is also a huge concern.
The question to be answered is how big a solar farm has to be to produce enough energy to be profitable and suit the needs of consumers. How big can they be without totally destroying the surrounding environment and changing the landscape of a community? They answers will be hard; the problems lay also among residences that have the notion of Not in My Backyard. People will have to make sacrifices; environments will have to be destroyed for the greater good. Can we really stall progress forever? Will everyone be pleased by outcome? No and we should not expect it to be otherwise. At the same time we cannot ignore the impact that large solar farms will have on our environment, we cannot solve one problem by creating another. We must learn to conserve our land and develop it properly for green energy. In the next few decades the need will be greater, the debates and opposition stronger and yet science must continue. If not now when?
Advantages of Solar Energy
While the world is facing lots of environmental issues, it is the right time to put more attention on concern on solar energy. In fact the demand of solar energy has steadily grown over its supply. Solar energy utilizes sun to create renewable energy. Therefore, it does not use the scarce energy resources we have on Earth. It is actually better than the traditional energy forms we know. People now use solar energy to provide electricity for appliances such as batteries, power cars, washers, bulbs, dryers, fans, water heaters, and even stoves. You also use solar energy when you dry clothes outside the home. The growing demand of solar energy is not without reasons. Solar energy has substantial advantages as follows:
- Solar energy does not cause pollution. There is no carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas released when you use solar energy. Therefore, they do not harm the environment and ecosystem. Other renewable resources of energy such as wind, hydropower, geothermal, and biomass also tend to be safer for the environment and can be used to accompany solar energy.
- Solar energy use renewable resource: sun light. While other energy sources such as oil, natural gas, coal, and uranium are not renewable, their production and supplying process also contribute negative effect to the environment. Once they run out of supply, the Earth and people will suffer if new forms of energy are not placed and ready . It can take millions of years to form none renewable energy sources such as gas and oil . With solar energy we can use this energy anytime when there is sun light. At night or cloudy days, the energy can be stored using solar system for future use.
- Solar energy is much cheaper in the long run. At a glance, solar energy will save you all the electricity costs. But even bigger, it saves immeasurable environment cost so that we can afford healthier living standard. Sun light is free and the system is of little maintenance cost. It is just the cost of applying solar energy system that is expensive at the beginning because you have to buy the panels and accessories and install them. We and the Earth save a lot after then.
The Advantages of Solar Roofing
Solar energy is simply the light produced by the sun. Sun produces radiant energy through the nuclear fusion process where small atoms join to form a larger one. In term of how sun light is converted into useful energy, there are passive and active solar energy. Passive solar energy is when you do not use mechanical devices or accessories to utilize sun light. For example: building eco-friendly house with strategic window and ventilation positioning so that there are optimal lighting and air into the house. Active solar energy is when you use devices or accessories to make use the sun into useful energy such as to heat water, room, and to provide energy for other electricity appliances. Solar roofing is one of the methods to collect and store sun light so that they can function as power generator to replace electricity use. Solar roof, which is made of photovoltaic materials, can be applied on both flat and pitched roof.
More new houses are built with solar roofing over time, while old houses are starting to make adjustment. Solar roof is actually a wise decision for homeowners because they look good and can save you considerably in electricity bills in long term. In wider perspective, solar roof contributes a lot to keep the Earth a healthy place to live. These two make up the best advantages of solar roofing compared to the traditional ones. Solar roof also last for a long time. In some developed countries, even governments provide incentives for homeowners who decide to install solar roofing instead of the traditional roof. The advantages are contagion if you look carefully.
Solar roof provides renewable energy resource to replace the electricity use in your home. They generate electricity when the sun is up so that you can use for heating, cooling, lighting, and other electricity purposes. The best contribution has been to environment. Non-renewable energy resources are saved, less carbon dioxide is released, and we have a better living. And even though the initial cost of installing solar roofing system is substantial, they have productive life of about 50 years. Imagine the amount you can save on electricity and environment over the years. It requires some investment, but you and the Earth will save a lot during the years.
Advantages of Solar Panel
Solar panel is one of the components to build solar energy system. It is used to generate electricity through the process of photovoltaic effect, either for residential or commercial use. It is common to see solar panel on the solar roofing system of plants and office buildings in industrial centers because businesses pay a lot on electricity and the use of solar energy can save considerable. However, the use of solar energy system in residential complex still needs more incentive as the initial cost of installing one is often too expensive for homeowners. There are three types of solar panels homeowners can use: the mono-crystalline modules, poly-crystalline modules, and the thin-film modules.
At homes, solar panels are mainly used to heat water and produce electricity for home appliances. Despite the worries homeowners have in terms of cost and reliability, solar panels do have advantages in long term.
- Solar panel produces clean source of energy for your home and environment. Pollution and massive use of non-renewable energy resources have been a big concern for scientists and environmentalists in recent years. They have effect on the climate change and deteriorating life quality we are currently feeling. By using solar panels, we take the free and safe energy resource to fulfill our electricity needs as much as possible.
The use of solar panel saves your money considerably. Non-renewable energy resources’ price keeps rising as the supply is scarce. The most spotted price rise is on electricity, water, and fuel. You spend a lot for energy every month. By using solar energy, the costs can be lessened to an optimal point and you can save or invest the money instead. Especially if you live in area where the sun is shiny most of the days, you do not have to worry about complying your electricity needs as the installed solar panel can work to the most of its capacity. You can also buy panel with capacity that meets your need.
Tips on How to Choose Solar Panels
Solar panels are produced by many manufacturers in different styles and features. Homeowners and business owners often find it difficult to choose the right solar panel that provides maximum benefits. It is a big investment which tends to be “permanent” once installed. You do not want to invest a lot of money for something you will regret later. Therefore, it is important that you know the guidelines/tips to choose solar panel.
- Solar panel capacity. The capacity is usually measured in watts. You should first determine your electricity need before buying a panel. The output of a panel will determine the watts of electricity produced and physical size of panel. The more capacity you require, the higher the price will be and the more space you will need. As a general rule, a 100-watt panel will generate the same amount of electricity per hour under normal condition. In long term, you would better buy a solar panel that meets your electricity needs and fits your free space, even though the initial cost is higher.
- Solar panel efficiency. If a panel is said to have a capacity of 100 watts, then it should produce 100 watts of electricity to be 100 percent efficient. You should check the efficiency rate before buying. The higher it is, the more it costs. Most solar panels have efficiency rate from 10 – 20%.
- Solar panel material. As we know, there are three materials of solar panel: mono-crystalline modules, poly-crystalline modules, and the thin-film modules. The first two are usually more suitable at lower temperatures, while the thin-film (or also known as amorphous) is more effective at higher temperatures. But there are also things to consider in regards to solar panel material: safety, weight, strength, and coating materials. Solar panel should be made of safe materials which are light but strong to last for years. Even the coating material should be safe enough for direct contact with sun light. When buying solar panel, look for manufacturer’s guarantee of at least 10 years. In case they are broken before the due year you do not have to spend money anymore.
How is Solar Energy good for the Environment?
Solar energy provides electricity from a renewable energy source: the sun. More homes are built with solar energy system as the benefits are substantial for your money and environment. The benefit on money is obvious. Once installed, you no longer have to pay electricity bill that much. The saving is big over years. But how is solar energy good for the environment? The benefits of solar energy on environment take place in some ways:
- Solar energy reduces pollution. There is pollution when you use fuel for the cars, gas for cooking, batteries for small appliances, etc. And they are not about the released emissions and gases, but also the material used to store the non-renewable energy. For example, you throw away disposable batteries after usage and they are mostly not recyclable. The leads leak into soil and water, causing water pollution and soil quality degradation. You can think of dying fish and other sea ecosystem, as well as lower harvest quality farmer faces in long term. The effect is actually much more contagious. Solar energy also does not produce greenhouse effects which are being concern of many environmentalists nowadays.
- Solar energy uses sun to generate electricity. We know sun is a renewable energy source. Most countries have access to abundance of sun light every day. It is the best environmentally-friendly energy resource we have on Earth. The process of converting energy to electricity does not cause any pollution, but the uses are extensive. You can use the energy derived from sun for cooking, heating, cooling, turning home appliances, running machines, etc. Imagine how much energy is used by industries and homes every single minute, and how much we can save for the Earth if we rely mostly on sun.
- You save the non-renewable energy sources by using solar energy. Non-renewable energy resources are scarce in supply. Their amounts keep depleting over time, beyond the periods they need to recover. By using solar energy, we utilize the best of free and safe renewable energy on Earth. Not only on environmental cost, but we also save on the big capital and labors used to produce energy from non-renewable resources. They can then be allocated to more productive sectors.