Sample Essay On Solar Energy
Solar power has grown as an alternative source of energy power in different parts of the world. It has been on the scene for a very long time providing benefits to human beings indirectly since the time immemorial. In the ancient times, there has been the use of different sources of energy ranging from the hydrologic cycle of water energy to the wind energy that was used in propelling ships in the sea. The use of solar energy started way back as early as the 7th to 2nd centuries BC. At this time, the Romans and the Greece used magnifying glass and mirrors to focus sunlight from lighting torches and starting fires (Lewis & Nocera, 2006). Later, the Romans and the Greece used passive solar designs in homes and buildings in maximizing the use of sunlight to provide heat and light to buildings. In the 19th century, there was the development of the photovoltaic effect Edmond Becquerel in 1839 a French scientist. This idea has led to the use of the current solar panels we use today (Lewis, 2007).
The recent rise in the cost of energy has made people look for and go for cheaper alternative power. The sun being the most reliable source of this energy has been serious been exploited. One just need to harness this power using the solar panels.
Texas is one of the main areas in the US where there is much use of the solar energy as a sustainable energy. With the discovery of Spindletop Oilfield in 1901, Texas has majored in the production of the solar energy in the exploration of oil and the gas industry. Texas energy cluster is divided into three major groups including electricity power generation, oil and gas exploration and renewable and sustainable energy generation. Being one of the main producer of oil and gas in US, Texas has exploited the use of solar energy in safe exploration (Lewis, 2007). The world is lately moving away from other sources of energy to the sustainable and renewable sources of energy. This form of energy was arrived at because of the high domestic consumption of energy in US, and the government had to look for a better and cheaper means of exploration. Solar energy was the only remaining from of energy remaining since wind energy was already exploited. In overcoming this pressure from the public, the government of the US exploited the use of solar energy that is more reliable and cheap in the long run. The main idea is to develop sustainable technology for producing energy so that the pressure on wind power use to produce energy is reduced, and it can be exported. Texas is one of the main and largest producer of renewable energy source in the world. The report gives details about the problems and how the US Government is dealing with it in solving the energy problem through renewable and sustainable source of wind power energy (Lewis & Nocera, 2006).
The research paper is produced showing how sustainable technology has been used and its application the United States in exploring the oil and petroleum industry. In the report, the issues, history and the effects of oil consumption and solar energy are discussed. At the same time, the areas in US where this kind of technology has been exploited and where it is used in solving the existing problems in energy is also discussed. The reason for this being a sustainable technology has also been explained. The environmental impact of the sustainable technology has been analyzed and explained through Quadruple bottom line. Also, the future impact of the technology has been. The essay will be concluded with a recommendation for the solution to the problem (Pimentel, 2008).
Rising Oil consumption
The domestic oil consumption in US has drastically increased over time. It has put much pressure on the government to meet the demands of its people. It had also put a lot of pressure on the government to import more oil and also to increase the extraction of more oil. The only way is to develop an alternative sustainable technology that can support overcoming a panic situation that is developing (Pimentel, 2008). Amongst, many technologies that are being considered and developed to counter this problem are solar energy, wind power and others such as Nuclear energy. In this report, I am going to examine and discuss the solar power as a source of sustainable technology.
Figure 1: US oil consumption up to 2012
Figure 2: US oil production and import 1920 to 2005
History of solar energy
The current use of solar energy is not a new technology. It started way back in the 2nd and 7th century Romans and the ancient Greece who were the first to using this technology, through to the 19th, 20th and now the 21st century. It has been developing from the time mirrors and lenses were used in creating heat and fire to the current time when there is a development where the use of photovoltaic effect has been exploited. The 19th century in 1839 was with the discovery of photovoltaic effect discovered by a by French scientist Edmond Becquerel. This knowledge came with the discovery of the photovoltaic solar panels that are used today. Within this time in 1861, there was also the discovery of a steam engine powered by the solar energy that was also developed by a French mathematician August Mouchout (Lewis & Nocera, 2006).
The success of the solar energy suffered a considerable competition from coal at this time of the century due to the low prices of coal. However, this did not stop these great scientists from taking keen interests in the development of solar energy through the 19th century. Solar energy led to the realization of the first patent for the first commercial solar water heater that was discovered by Baltimore inventor, Clarence Kemp in 1891. In the 20th century, there has been various and fundamental research by famous scientists as Albert Einstein and Robert Milliken, who has broadened the understanding of the photoelectric effect, a technology in solar energy. In the 21st century, there was a massive growth in the market in expanding the technology and concurrently reducing the cost. Also, solar thermal water has become more cost effective in reducing demands as compared to electricity and gas (Lewis, 2007). Lately, solar wind power technology has developed to an extent that it is on the way to becoming the most cost efficient power source of the future.
What is solar power?
Solar energy is the power from the sun. The sun is very powerful and hits the surface of the earth whether we need it or not. This energy from the sun is harnessed and used to provide energy in many sectors. The primary concern is in the collection of the energy efficiently and today there are several technologies used in the achieving the goal of energy collection. Nowadays people are more concerned about the renewable sources that are more affordable, reliable, and safe (Pimentel, 2008).
Figure 3: Harnessing solar energy
Basics facts on solar energy
Being a free resource, and one that does not matter how much we use it, unlike other sources, solar energy will be replaced by nature on a continuous basis. No matter how much volume it is used it will still be available in future. It is clean and non-polluting and hence a good way of producing electricity. Solar panels are the main technology used in the harnessing, and they can be installed anywhere on open grounds, roofs of houses as long as there is the availability of the sun (Gevorkian, 2012).
Solar power as a sustainable solution
As shown earlier, solar power is available in abundance for free. It can never be depleted as it is directly found from nature and as long as the sun is out, then automatically this energy is available for use. It’s a renewable, and sustainable form of energy and mankind can use it as much as possible and then it is replaced by nature. It does not create any pollution or greenhouse gases. There is no question of depletion. The advantage is that as much electricity can be produced and still the resource will be available in future. The cost of installing and producing the solar power energy is low and more affordable by most people and companies (Lewis & Nocera, 2006). Therefore, from every angle there is every chance of solar power winning the race among all the energy producing technologies including other renewable sources.
Quadruple Bottom Line
Humans appear to have gone beyond the environmental limits of the world. Degradation of the environment and global change are the consequences of harm inflicted on the environment by human beings (Gevorkian, 2012). Also, there are also uplifting examples of humans creating sustainable communities in the ever changing world and developing their natural habitat.
Figure 4: Quadruple Bottom Line chat
Advantages of solar power system
Solar power is one of the renewable and sustainable sources of energy considered very clean and green technology. Solar power is the single source of energy produced in unlimited quantity by nature and will be permanently available on earth. The advantage enjoyed by this form of energy is not evident in other forms of energy. Americans are moving from other forms of energy like petroleum to the renewable energies. Before the exploration of solar energy, there was wind energy which according to the latest research on renewable energy, has seen found to have been overtaken by solar energy (Lewis, 2007).
The solar power energy production cost has drastically reduced meaning this is a very cost effective means of producing a non-polluting energy that is good for the environment (Gevorkian, 2012).
Other advantages of solar power includes;
a. Sustainable resources compared to other forms of energy in the US.
b. It has no health hazards on the environment and people working on it.
c. It has no toxicity.
d. One time initial investment
e. No greenhouse gases as in the case of the coal use.
Disadvantages of solar power system
In the solar power generation, there are some environmental considerations that have to be taken into account. The disadvantages of the solar power to the environment includes land use and habitat and the materials used in manufacturing these solar power materials can be so hazardous. These problems are evident depending on the level of technology adopted which are of two categories, concentrating solar thermal plants (CSP) and photovoltaic (PV) solar cells. However, these problems have been greatly looked into, and most of them are being minimized in future (Lewis, 2007).
Advantages of solar power system
Solar energy has replaced the forms of energies from the market because of the low costs on the consumers. The low cost of solar energy has significantly affected most sectors but the advantage of the general consumers. The economy f US and most specifically of Texas as a state has been boosted since most of the companies produce their products at a lower costs. 5this has raised the living standards of the people. Also, solar energy has led to creation of more employment opportunities for the people, and this has impacted directly in promoting the economy of US (Pimentel, 2008).
Disadvantages of solar power system
The initial cost of installation may be so costly compared to other forms of energy. The materials are very expensive and, therefore, most people are not able to afford its initial cost. As compared to coal that is more popular in the US, most of the people still find coal cheaper and more affordable (Gevorkian, 2012). Transmission lines may have to be constructed to transfer electricity produced and transferred to the users.
Advantages of solar power system
Solar energy creates a renewable energy that is clean that will be able to sustain and also in supporting the future generation. Solar energy has the advantage since it can be used where it is produced and therefore used to support the national energy independence. It also creates jobs, local jobs for the new energy economy (Pimentel, 2008). Research has shown that solar energy creates more jobs per megawatt hour more than any other form of energy in US. The development has to educate more of its population on the renewable sources of energy. It will, therefore, make the world be a cleaner and greener place giving the general population hope and reducing other forms of energy like the fossil fuels that are not environmentally friendly. Other social advantages of solar energy include the creation of more employments and also recycling of resources thus helping nature (Gevorkian, 2012).
Disadvantages of solar power system
The Social disadvantage of solar power is that the solar panels and solar cells used in harnessing this form of energy are very expensive, and most of the families are not able to afford. It brings a significant challenge to the poor who cannot afford its installation. At the same time, a lot of lands is required for the installation of the panels that may prove a challenge to the people in urban areas where land is a scarce commodity (Gevorkian, 2012).
In general, the introduction and discovery of solar energy has helped the government in various aspects in that the long term sustainability can easily be solved using this technology, more employment created and additional taxes generated in maintaining the American population. For this to be achieved, the government must invest more in education, training and research in order to achieve its goals (Lewis, 2007). It may seem to be uncertain and complex since there is no guarantee that it will succeed.
Future Impact and Conclusion
There is increasing demand for the solar energy because of the drastic increase in the prices of the oil prices. The domestic population in now putting the US government to invest more in the solar power as an alternative source of energy. The future of solar power looks so bright because the power is cost effective, revolutionary with no side effects, and environmentally friendly. This development in technology, solar power, is based on the three dimensions that include low cost, sustainability and environmentally friendly. All these factors are found within 6the solar energy, and this is the direction taken by the future.
Based on the above facts and the analysis, it is easy to recommend that solar power is one of the main technology of the future at which US government should look at. The problem of the US is a strategic problem, and the solution lies in looking at the problem in long term view as the investment is vast, and the stakes are very high. Solar power is renewable, sustainable and offers a permanent solution for non-renewable and renewable sources at present and in the long time to come.
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Oil consumption in United States of America from 1980-2013