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Solar Technology

Solar technology can cut energy bills and reduce dependence on non-renewable energy sources, according to the National Renewable

Information on Solar Power Energy

Overview

Though economics still favor fossil fuels, the sun remains an important renewable energy source. Enough sunlight falls on the earth to power civilization many times over. Researchers in solar technologies have continued to develop new, more efficient ways of harnessing the sun’s energy. Power produced from solar energy produces no emissions and makes no impact on its source, as the sun will continue to shine for billions of years.

the earth receives about 100,000 terawatts of energy from sunlight annually, compared to the 13 TW humans produce with fossil fuels, nuclear power and all other sources. Maps published show that desert areas receive the strongest sunshine, such as . Since solar power plants must cover a large area, it makes sense to build them in deserts.

Power

Though the earth gets a large amount of energy from the sun, a given area receives only a small fraction. strong sunlight falling on a square meter of the earth’s surface produces about one kilowatt of power. By comparison, the electric motor of a Toyota Prius uses 60 KW. To power this electric motor with 10 percent efficient solar cells, you would need a 600-square-meter solar panel.

Types

The technology for making solar power comes in two main forms: solar cells and thermal energy. Solar cells, also called photovoltaic cells, convert light directly into electricity. Available since the late 1950s, solar cells power small items such as watches and calculators, communications satellites, and solar electric utility plants. Thermal power generation uses concentrated heat from sunlight to drive a steam or other heat engine. Such an engine uses much the same technology as a coal-fired electric generator uses, except it gets its heat from the sun instead of coal.

Benefits

Solar power plants consume no fuel and so have no fuel-related costs or emissions. The plants, once constructed, produce no waste products. Solar power fits the definition of renewable since it consumes no limited resources. Solar cells produce clean power silently and with no moving parts.