Solar Energy Essay

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Solar Energy Essay Example

Solar Energy Essay: Introduction

Although solar energy seems like a new technology, it has been in our lives ever since the 7th century B.C. Compared to earth's other resources, the biggest difference solar energy has is that it is near infinite. The term near-infinite should not be understood as something sadly, however. Because our sun is powered by the nuclear fusion of hydrogen to helium, there is enough hydrogen remaining, to keep our sun going for billions of years. Thus, solar energy is not infinite, but we can use it for billions of years, contrary to our other finite resources such as fossil fuels or coal. In this paper, I will examine the benefits of solar power and some of the countries using it at the moment. Though before starting, it is vital to know precisely what solar power is.

Body Paragraphs

Power from our sun can be used in many different ways. Like I have mentioned above, in 7th century B.C., by just using primal tools like magnifying glass materials, humans used the sunlight to burn fires. Later on, Romans used mirrors to use sunlight to light torches in religious ceremonies. These mirrors were later called “burning mirrors” (Richardson, 2018). Looking at modern practices, in the 17th to 18th century, solar energy was used to power solar-powered steamboats. Thus, we can say that manipulating the power of the sun is a common practice now. Thanks to the discovery that selenium and silicon can create sunlight when being exposed to sunlight. Our concept of renewable energy changed for good. At first, building solar panels and using them to create clean power was expensive. The costliness of creating solar panels contributed to the sale price of the panels and made it even harder for individuals to install and use them. Though now, according to the International Energy Agency, with the developments of affordable and inexhaustible solar energy technologies will have enormous long-term benefits ranging from increasing countries' energy security to keeping fossil fuel prices lower than ever. For that reason, right now, we have solar energy cheaper than ever before, and it will only get cheaper. The above-mentioned benefits are global, and therefore, there are many countries and even individuals getting into this bandwagon.

Germany is and has been one of the world’s top photovoltaic (PV) solar energy generator installer for several years. It generated 41.3 gigawatts (GW) in 2016, a number only smaller than China's. Looking at the national percentages, on the other hand, thanks to its huge number of photovoltaic systems, Germany generates an estimated 7 percent of the country's net electricity generation. It is crucial to keep in mind that while Germany is mainly using photovoltaic generators, there is also Concentrated solar power (CSP) technology that does not use photovoltaics and contrary to photovoltaic generators, needs much higher solar isolation. Spain, on the other hand, focuses more on Concentrated solar generators. It is the first country to deploy CSP in the world. The decision between using CSP or PV depends on the amount of sunshine and vast areas the country has, and as Spain is one of the European countries with the most hours of sunshine, we can say that currently, they are in the right track. One thing more important than any other factor is the government incentives and decisions about solar power. For instance, at first, the government of Spain offered low prices for grid-connected generators as an incentive for the industry. Though, because of the miscalculations about the future of solar power, the country failed to anticipate the boom in the solar industry. As a result, grid-connected generator prices were not cut to reflect the boom, leading to a fast and unsustainable boom in installations.

The United States is maybe the smartest country when it comes to solar energy. The reason for this lies beneath the word “research.” United States conducted a massive amount of early research in both PV and CSP production ("The United States," 2019). By utilizing their generation in the best way, numbers were nothing less than amazing. In 2016, 39% of all new electricity generation in the country came from solar energy generation, more than any other source, 10% more than natural gas (“United States,” 2019). Right now, the United States is among the top countries in generated solar power and has several of the world's largest utility installations in its deserts. Maybe the most significant difference between the US and the above-mentioned European countries is that the growth in the industry did not hit a full stop (“United Stop,” 2019). On the contrary, there are many more plants to build other solar plants. Much of the states have set their own individual solar energy goals. Apart from government incentives, most Americans also support the idea of alternative energy sources like solar and wind power instead of using fossil fuels. The growth of the industry is more than great. Since 2008, the number of solar installments has grown 35-fold to generating 62.5 gigawatts today (“seia.org,” para. 1). If numbers don’t show how big of a number that is, it is enough to know that this capacity is enough to power 12 million average American homes. This fast-growing industry also created a competitive market between several states, and now on top of creating clean energy and reducing the costs of solar panels (Folk, 2018), the market also creates jobs. As a matter of fact, it creates jobs nine times the national average job growth rate in the last five years (Munsell, 2017).

Solar Energy Essay: Conclusion

In conclusion, looking at the technical aspect shows us that this fast-developing industry, if handled correctly, can change a nation's carbon footprint and completely transform its resource prioritization. Especially for countries where there is a solar abundance and potential such as the United States, solar energy offers humanity a myriad of benefits. Just a couple of years ago, it might have been impossible to say that there are little to none disadvantages to using individual solar energy generators. There is also the factor of creating batteries for mass production. Batteries for solar panels are mostly created from lithium batteries, which, in the way of harvesting, harms our environment. Right now, as the new types of batteries are coming to the industry, there is still significant work before it becomes a common way of energy for everyone.

References

Folk, E. (2019, October 29). How Efficient is Solar Energy?: Renewable Energy Blog. Retrieved from https://conservationfolks.com/efficient-solar-energy-compared-to-other-renewable-energy/

Munsell, M. (2017, February 15). US Solar Market Grows 95% in 2016, Smashes Records.

United States Surpasses 2 Million Solar Installations. (2019, May 9). Retrieved from https://seia.org/news/united-states-surpasses-2-million-solar-installations

Richardson, L. (2018, April 10). History of Solar Energy: Timeline & Invention of Solar Panels: EnergySage. Retrieved from https://news.energysage.com/the-history-and-invention-of-solar-panel-technology/

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