The Purpose of Solar Energy

by Joe Rivers

In an age when being green is paramount, it is important to understand how to harvest efficient and clean energy. Amidst many, many competitors, solar energy is arguably one of the greatest resources this galaxy has to offer. What better than to harness the power of the most powerful source of light this side of the earth?

It's Renewable

The beauty of solar energy is that it is renewable energy, meaning it is collected from natural resources, and are replenished naturally. As arguably the cleanest forms of gathering energy known to man, renewable energy is a great field to get involved in! While renewable energy involves many categories, such as biofuels, wave power, and wind power, among others, solar energy is one of the most viable and cleanest ways to produce energy.

How It Works

Solar energy converts sunlight into electricity. This is most commonly done through photovoltaics, or solar panels as they are more commonly referred to. In large scales, concentrating solar power is used, which focuses the suns energy to a boil or to a Stirling engine. Due to the intermittent nature of solar power, energy is usually stored while for times when light cannot be harvested. This allows for continuous power output.

Why It's Beneficial

Unlike gasoline or oil, electricity is a near flawless form of energy. It's easy to store, relatively safe to use in commercial devices and has little side effects. This means it's not only easier on the environment, it's cheaper for the consumer. Solar energy has multitudes of applications, such as powering homes, buildings, and cars.

The Beauty of It All

Solar energy is a vastly underused technology, and while costs of solar farms are limiting, they are small when compared to the overarching costs of oil and gasoline. The beauty though, lies in the simplicity of the solar energy system. Entire cities could be run off of solar energy, with no emissions, at affordable costs, using a completely free resource that is available without bias nearly anywhere in the globe. This would mean a cleaner environment, a stronger economy and great freedom in the world, due to energy freedom.

The Drawback

While solar energy is an amazing opportunity to harvest natural resources, it doesn't come without issues. For one, due to solar panel inefficiency, solar farms usually need to be quite large, and are placed in areas, such as the desert that conservationists would argue should be protected and that solar farms would detract from the natural beauty of the area. Moreover, solar harvesting creates quite a bit of heat, and use large quantities of water in certain setups. While these points are heavily debatable, they must be considered before large scale infrastructure change can ever take place.

About the Author

Joe Rivers has written professionally since 2004. He has been published in multiple computer related blogs, such as MacApper and DesktopVibes. Rivers is a full time student, currently in his second year working towards a Bachelor of Arts in architecture from the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee

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