Solar Energy: A Form Of Renewable Energy Research Papers Example
With the current challenges regarding the depletion of traditional fuel sources, several developments and discoveries in the energy industry have been done in order to look for possible sources that could sustain the needs of mankind. In the past years, people have been dependent in the existence of fossil fuels that is the major source of energy needed for industrial and residential areas as well as transportation services (Blashfield, 2014). Lerner et al. (2012) reported that these fossil fuels cover 85 percent of the overall energy consumption. However, fossil fuels are non-renewable sources of energy, thus the depletion continues as time passes by. The reports of energy experts have shown that this energy source is no longer sustainable. Moreover, the non-renewable sources contribute to the environmental problems such as pollution (Blashfield, 2014). The increasing price due to the depleting supply of oil is also a major factor as to why researchers look for other energy sources. In search for possible sources of energy, alternative energy sources such that are sustainable have been discovered. Such sustainable energy sources are known as the renewable energy sources.
The renewable energy sources are alternative energy sources including wind, water, geothermal, and sunlight. These are natural occurring resources that are abundant on the planet. With the technological advancements in science, harnessing energy from these sources has been possible thus resulting to the existence of solar energy, hydroelectric energy, wind energy, geothermal energy, and the biofuels (Evans, 2007). This paper will cover the importance of renewable energy by focusing on solar energy as one of its proponents. The concept, advantages, importance, and cost of solar energy will be discussed in this paper.
The popularity of renewable energy sources as alternative to conventional energy sources has continually grown due to different factors that have upset the state of the environment. One of these factors is climate change which is believed to have been caused by excessive emission of greenhouse gases that can harm the environment. Also, the continuous use of non-renewable sources such as fossil fuels and coal has resulted to less supply for future usage. Theoretically, production of energy from renewable resources can mitigate these problems. Evans (2007) stated in his paper that renewable energy sources are more advantageous compared to the conventional, non-renewable energy sources. These sources do not put harm to the environment and it can help in promoting a clean, healthy, and green setting. Also, with the increasing cost of non-renewable energy sources, electricity production via renewable energy sources is vital to mankind.
One of the sources of renewable energy is wind. The use of wind as a source of energy has been established upon the discovery of windmills (Evans, 2007). Moreover, wind energy is also important in navigating the ocean. Nowadays, harnessing wind energy can be done through technologies using propeller. The harnessed energy is stored then transformed into electricity that can be supplied to the electricity grid. Wind turbines are usually located in coastal areas. This technology can harness energy through the local winds.
Geothermal energy is also a renewable energy. This energy originates from the heat of the planet earth thus making it a clean energy as well. It ranges from the ground water to hot water and rock that is located miles beneath the surface of the earth (“RenewableEnergy.com”, n.d.). Some of the technologies that make use of geothermal energy include electricity production, heat pumps for cooling buildings and for gathering heat directly from the earth’s surface.
Another form of renewable energy is the hydroelectric power. It is a sustainable energy mainly from the water and it does not employ special resources in generating electricity. It does not promote pollution as well. This renewable energy is very useful in the United States encompassing almost 96% of the sustainable resources (U.S. Department of Interior, 2005). Another promising source of alternative energy is biofuels. This fuel can be derived from organic sources such as plants and animal remains. Currently, there are three generations of feedstock for biofuels. First generation biofuels include vegetable oil, sugar and animal fats. The second generation biofuels include biomass products. The third generation biofuels covers the microalgae and macroalgae sources. These sources can either produced bioethanol or biodiesel. The biofuels technology can help in resolution of the problem in the depleting oil supply (Diesendorf, 2007).
The abundance of sunlight makes it the best substitute for energy source. Sunlight can be harnessed and turned into solar energy which is considered a clean technology (Langwith, 2009). The next part of this paper will focus more on solar energy and its benefits.
Since it is a readily available resource, sunlight is harnessed as solar energy through different technologies such as artificial photosynthesis, solar heating, solar thermal energy and photovoltaic cells (Langwith, 2009). Solar energy is a significant energy source due to its abundance. This energy being sustainable and free makes it exceptional among other renewable energy sources. Solar energy technologies are divided into two major classifications which are passive and active (Hegedus & Luque, 2003). Technologies included in the active classification use electrical energy in transforming sunlight to energy. The passive solar technologies use the sunlight directly by heating or light energy. The solar technology is considered as the main proponent of the renewable energy industry. It is a novel source of electricity production in several continents such as Europe for years (Armbrecht, 2014).
Importance of Solar Energy
Solar energy is an important renewable energy source since it better than the traditional non-renewable resource. It is very abundant and can be acquired freely. With the available solar technologies, it can be readily harnessed for present and future use of energy or electricity (Brooke, 1992). The sustainability of this resource is considered limitless since sunlight is unlimited. Though sunlight can only be harnessed during daytime, it is still more abundant compared to the fossil fuels. Thus, by discovering more technologies that can efficiently harness this energy, it can provide the needed energy reserves for a long time. Moreover, sunlight is free for everyone and cannot be monopolized. Technologies on solar power can also be used by ordinary people by informing them on how to harness it. Areas in the world that cannot have access to electrical power can have access to solar technologies by spreading information regarding it (Lerner et al., 2012). Rural areas can use solar energy as electricity source since availability of sunlight is not limited.
Advantages of Solar Energy
Compared to fossil fuels, solar energy promotes clean technology since it does not cause any pollution. Thus, it is an environmental friendly and sustainable type of resource. There are no gas emissions when using solar energy. The passive solar technologies discovered promote zero gas emission. It helps in reduction of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. On the other hand, the use of solar panels for harnessing solar energy can lead to emission of greenhouse gases but at a minimum level. With the reduction in greenhouse gas emission, pollution is immensely reduced as well by using solar technologies. Pollutions in water and air can be minimized since solar energy does not affect these areas (Ambrecht, 2014).
The Cost of Solar Energy
One major advantage of using solar energy is its cost. Since sunlight is free for everyone, the only expenses needed for solar energy is when acquiring solar technologies such as solar panels. Generally, the cost of electricity for residential and industrial areas can be reduced. Since free source of energy is used, the electric bills for industries using solar panels should decrease. In residential areas, the usage of solar panels could decrease electricity costs. As for industrial areas, acquiring solar energy technologies aside from the other renewable energy sources such as biogas for electricity production can help in reduction of electricity costs (Blashfield, 2014).
The use of non-renewable energy sources such as fossil fuels has been useful to humans in terms of providing the energy needed for industries. However, their continuous usages have resulted to resource depletion and adverse effects to the environment such as pollution. As a search for sustainable energy resources, the developments in alternative energy resources have brought major changes to the energy industry. Renewable energy sources have been helpful in minimizing environmental problems as well as sustaining the energy source needed by mankind. One of the best renewable energy sources is solar power. Sunlight can be converted into solar energy by using solar technologies. It is considered one of the best since it is free and available for every people’s use. It helps in reducing pollution and decreasing greenhouse gas emissions. It is readily available for long-term use since solar power is abundant. Solar technologies can minimize the cost of electricity as well. Given these advantages of solar technology, it is truly a novel source of renewable energy.
Armbrecht, S. (2014). The future of solar energy – opportunities and challenges of the solar photovoltaic industry. LG Solar .
Blashfield, J. F. (2014). Bioenergy. Retrieved from http://www.encyclopedia.com/article-1G2-2830100294/bioenergy.html.
Brooke, B. (1992). Solar energy. New York, NY: Chelsea House Publishers.
Diesendorf, M. (2007). Greenhouse solutions with sustainable energy. Australia. UNSW Press.
Evans, R.L. (2007). Fueling our future: An introduction to sustainable energy. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
Hegedus, S. S., & Luque, A. (2003). Status, Trends, Challenges and the Bright Future of Solar Electricity from Photovoltaics. Handbook of Photovoltaic Science , 1-43.
Langwith, J. (2009). Renewable energy. New York, NY: Greenhaven Press.
Lerner, K.L., Lerner, B.W., & Edgar, K.J. (2012). Solar Energy. Retrieved from http://go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?id=GALE%7CCX4020100017&v=2.1&u=redm10284&it=r&p=GVRL&sw=w&asid=01e6ded4b9a60edff96d5450d7bcfe57#A.
Renewable Energy.com. (n.d.). Geothermal energy. Retrieved from http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/tech/geothermal-energy
U.S. Department of the Interior. (2005). Hydroelectric Power from Reclamation: Managing water in the West. Retrieved from http://www.usbr.gov/power/edu/pamphlet.pdf
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