Essay on Solar Power

Submitted By tpowell489
Words: 1222
Pages: 5

Solar Energy: The Power of the Future Fossil fuels such as coal, petroleum, and natural gasses have been making life possible since before the Industrial Revolution. These were the first forms of energy supply after draft animals, water wheels, windmills, and steam engines. By 1900 power plants started forming and coal had taken over as the main energy supply, and by 1950 petroleum and natural gasses had joined in. Today most of the United States and the world depend on these nonrenewable energy sources and they make up about 90% of the world’s electricity. But since they are not renewable, we run the risk of them running out and being consumed faster than their production. As early as the 1800’s people were aware of the possibility of depleting our nonrenewable sources, and yet still chose to use technological designs that ran on coal and other nonrenewable resources instead of the sun (Solar Home).
Some other downsides besides the possibility of them running out is that they the price to obtain them will continue to rise as they start running out, they produce harmful gases such as carbon dioxide that lea to global warming, and mining and drilling for them can disrupt the environment. The pros however are that they are easily attainable, they are easy to transport, and it provides jobs. On the other end of the spectrum are renewable sources. Some examples of these are wind power, hydropower, and solar power. Wind power generates electricity through wind turbines, those huge windmills you might sometimes notice on the side of the highway. It is one of the safest and cleanest forms of energy. From water we get Hydropower, which is energy from moving water that rotates a generator that produces electricity. This paper will focus on solar power, since its energy originates from the sun and is indirectly responsible for the other two.
The main source of renewable energy is solar power, this is the energy that is received from the sun, and is converted into heat and electricity. Solar energy has existed since the birth of the sun. It heats the world, heats water, feeds plants that provide oxygen for us, and makes all the weather on our planet, and generates electricity. Dating all the way back to the 3rd century BC the sun’s energy has been harnessed through such methods as mirrors being used by the Greeks and Romans to light fires (US Department of Energy). They also built their houses to absorb the sun’s light and trap in heat. It’s rich history is still being written as the need for more renewable energy keeps increasing. If it keeps developing, solar power is likely to replace exhaustible resources, but that’s not to say it would be an easy transition convincing the energy companies and all their consumers to change their focus to these renewable energy sources.
The sun is our most reliable and inexhaustible source of energy. It has been around since the beginning of mankind providing energy to all live forms and is predicted to burn for at least another three billion years. The earth receives more energy in just one hour from the sun than what is consumed in the whole world for one year ( ) The energy the earth receives the sun is measured at about 1400 Watts per meter squared. This means that every square meter being hit by the sun receives the power of fourteen 100 Watt light bulbs every second. ( )The solar energy is captured through solar panels or photovoltaic (PV) cells.
Photovoltaics is the direct conversion of light into electricity. PV cells are made up of silicon that has been sandwiched between contact plates and then specifically treated to help create a flow of the sun’s rays (Solar Energy Systems) When the silicon is exposed to the sunlight it generates electrical charges through the metal plates, converting the radiant energy into electrical energy. These cells are so important, because not only do they create power from the suns energy, but they can pump water, power household