AP Enviromental Science, Period 6
16, December, 2013
Alternative Energy Source: Solar Energy
Scientist, researchers, politicians, and economists are interested in creating and establishing an alternative to fossil fuels. There are many ways and processes being created to be alternative energy sources. Since fossil fuel will soon run out, we need to know what other options we have to survive and take care of ourselves. We cannot limit ourselves. One alternative energy source would be solar powered energy. Every alternative energy source has it’s pros and cons.
Producing electrical energy from solar radiation is one of the fastest growing forms of alternative energy. From vast projects to single-device solar cells, the technology is evolving quickly and in many forms. Solar power is energy from the sun and without its presence all life on earth would end. Solar energy has been looked upon as a serious source of energy for many years because of the vast amounts of energy that are made freely available, if harnessed by modern technology. The history of solar energy started all the way back in 1876. William Grylls Adams discovered that when selenium was exposed to light, it would produce electricity and energy. An electricity expert, the selenium cells were not efficient enough, but it did prove that light, without heat or moving parts, could be turned into electricity. Then in 1953, three men by the name Calvin Fuller, Gerald Pearson, and Daryl Chapin, then discovered the silicon solar cell. This type of cell actually produced enough electricity that it was efficient enough to run small electrical devices. Then by the year 1956, the first solar cells are available commercially. The cost however is far from the reach of everyday people. 1956 started showing us the first solar cells used in toys and radios. In the late 1950's satellites in the USA's and Soviet's many space programs were powered by various solar cells. In the late 1960's solar power was basically the standard and only thing used for powering space satellites. The history keeps going! In the early 1970's solar cells was discovered to be in a way lower cost. This brought the price down a huge difference. During the period from the 1970's to the 1990's there was quite a big change in the usage of solar cells. They began showing up on railroad crossings, and also used to power homes, and many other places and devices. Today we see solar cells in a wide variety of places. Solar power has many advantages. The biggest advantage is it is completely free! Solar energy is the cleanest and most abundant renewable energy source available, and the U.S. has some of the richest solar resources in the world. The sun will always shine. It needs no fuel and produces no waste or pollution. So it doesn’t harm the environment. In sunny countries, solar power can be used where there is no easy way to electricity to a remote place. It is also super-efficient for low power uses such as solar powered garden lights and battery chargers or for helping the home energy bills. It is very economical. Solar power can hang off rooks; it just needs light to hit it to produce energy. However, solar power does have its disadvantages, to have solar power you obviously need the sun and there is no sunlight during the night. It is also very expensive to build a solar power station, even though the cost