You’ve probably heard a lot about solar energy and how efficient it is. Moreover, over the last few years, there have been several moves to see how effectively we can use solar power in an attempt to alleviate the energy crisis that the world faces. So, how does using solar energy fit into the bigger picture of protecting our environment? The point is that even small changes in the way we do things go a long way in terms of saving our environment.
Solar energy is a renewable energy source
The sun offers us a great source of renewable energy; it’s been around for over four billion years and is likely to stay around for another five billion years, during its life it will supply us with a steady stream of energy. So, apart from the obvious fact of solar energy is in abundance, people who are environmentally conscious find that using solar energy is an excellent way to help protect the environment.
But what makes solar energy an attractive option is the fact that unlike polluting fossil fuels, its availability is not governed by the oil industry, an industry that is riddled with capitalistic individuals, and influenced heavily by several geographic and political factors that invariably affect the supply.
Solar Energy on the other hand is a clean environmentally friendly energy resource and a very viable alternative to existing fossil fuels that pollute our lands, water and air, threaten our health, and contribute substantially to global warming.
Solar energy transformed into thermal (or heat) energy can be used to:
* Cook food – Using Solar Cookers
* Heat water – in Houses, Office Buildings, or Swimming Pools.
* Heat closed spaces – a Greenhouse, a House or even other Buildings.
Solar energy can also be converted to electricity by using:
* Photovoltaic devices or “solar cells” that transforms sunlight into electricity. These systems are often used in areas with no regular electricity supply. Some common devices that are sometimes powered by these solar cells include, street lights, road signs and some gadgets like watches and even calculators.
* Solar Power Plants are electricity generating plants that use thermal energy obtained from the suns radiation to super heat liquids that in turn become steam and rotate the turbines of a generator to generate electricity.
How can solar power rescue the environment?
For starters, switching over to solar power would help cut back our dependence on organic fuels. This in itself is a huge saving, reduced hydrocarbons and emissions in the air, mean fresh cleaner air. Some ripple down effects would be, controlling the global warming, less acid rain, no smog the list can go on and on, however, let me elaborate some of the better know environmental benefits.
Decrease air pollution
The most commonly obvious benefit is the fact that by using solar energy we are able to reduce the levels of pollution. As we reduce the amount of fossil fuels being burnt and switch over instead to solar power from our needs there is a corresponding decrease in the amount of pollution produced. Solar electrification in some rural areas also decreases the dependence of the electricity grid and generators that run on petrol or diesel.
Offsets greenhouse gases
Solar Cell (PV systems) generates electricity with absolutely no carbon dioxide (CO2) emission. This in turn plays a significant step in reducing the overall greenhouse effect that we face. Apparently studies show that approximately six tons of carbon emissions are offset through the use of a single Solar cell over a period of twenty five years.
The world over, and especially the third world countries have begun to embrace the conservation and use of solar electricity through several conservations programs to help conserve power for urban areas, city lighting as well as commercial and industrial needs. While solar plants and other forms of decentralised solar generated energy is used to serve the basic power consumption needs in the majority of the developing areas.
Reduces discarding dry cell batteries
People in several countries around the world rely heavily on the use of small dry-cell batteries for various gadgets, like flashlights and radio’s. These batteries are primarily composed of lead acid and sometimes other materials that can be toxic to us. When the battery is improperly disposed off, they start leaking; toxic chemical contents seep into the surroundings and contaminate the soil, water or air around it. By switching over to the use of solar energy the dependence on dry cells batteries reduces drastically and consequently all issues associated with its disposal.
Low cost energy alternative
Using solar energy at home substantially reduces the need for dependence on electricity or gas. Solar panels placed on your roof top collect the solar energy and store them away in batteries for later use. This power can be used to power up lights around the house in the evenings or when it is dark. Solar thermal converts can be used to heat water that or even your home again offering substantial savings on those fronts. Solar cooking ovens could be used during the day for baking and cooking meals.
The use of “Solar Energy”, a fresh, clean, free and abundant source of renewable energy will over the course of time reduce our dependence on other sources of energy that aren’t as helpful to our environment. If you want to make a difference to the world you live in, this is a wonderful place to start.