written by: sriram balu•edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 2/3/2010
Have you ever wondered how much energy is being untamed from the sunlight falling on our Earth's surface? Read this to learn about solar energy and appreciate the pros and cons of solar energy. Also learn about government grants for power generation from sunlight.
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Introduction to Solar Power
One of the main reasons for survival on our planet Earth is sunlight. Right from an amoeba to a man; all living creatures require sun light for survival. Also we are all well aware of the oil fuel resource availability and its associated pollution problems. This has diverted everyone to look for an alternate means of energy resource. Sunlight is one such energy source, which is natural and renewable. It is roughly estimated that every square meter on our planet Earth gets approximately 1 kW on a normal day. Also, now scientists and environmentalists have started to look for many renewable sources of energy like tides, waves, wind power, and many others. In this article, let us discuss in detail the pros and cons of solar energy.
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Pros of Solar Energy:
Availability: The main feature of solar energy is it is available in abundance and throughout the day time. The area of availability is so huge that it can be tamed from anywhere and everywhere.
Cost: It is totally free and no one is going to charge you for using solar energy. So you can design all appliances in your home powered by solar energy, saving your hard earned money. In fact, if you do so, any government will appreciate it and fund you for your future projects.
Pollution and Remains: All fuels which we currently use leave behind combustion products which pollute and cause harm to the environment. Example, whether it is coal or oil, it has combustion products (soot) and other gases which pollute the environment. When solar energy is tamed, there are actually no combustion happening, thus no pollution.
Price: Depending upon the market, oil prices may vary. But solar power generation and utility does not depend on market variations.
Machinery and Maintenance: There is no machinery involved in the generation of electricity and power. Thus there are fewer maintenance problems and breakdowns. No spare parts cost as in case of generators.
Remote Utility: The availability of solar power anywhere and everywhere makes it possible to generate electricity even in remote locations where power cables cannot reach or the amount of power available is inadequate. You can set up your own generating station and live comfortably.
Renewable: Unlike fossil fuels, the usage of solar power causes no depletion in its availability. It is totally renewable for all practical purposes.
No greenhouse gas emissions and this clean source of energy making it possible to claim as one of the energy sources for the future.
Noise and other hazards: The generation of power from solar energy is a quiet operation and does not require huge population to take care of it. There are no hazards to the environment and the people when solar energy is used.
Lesser running cost and zero health hazards.
Government Grants: Local Governments and NGO’s are granting funds for those who use and implement new solar powered domestic appliances. Some of the organizations offer financial help for the students to carry out research on usage and taming of solar power for the daily requirements.
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Cons of Solar Energy:
People don’t encourage or come forward to use it as the initial installation cost is so high that it makes sense for them to use domestic power from the power plants.
The cost of the solar panels is too high and it occupies more space for generation of small amount of power, which typically can be interpreted as the power/space ratio being too high.
During night time, since there is no sun light, you have to rely upon the domestic power supply.
If you want to make use of the solar power during night time, then you have to use a separate storage device to store the solar energy.
The power generation will reduce depending upon the amount of sunlight.
Also if the climate is cloudy or rainy or during winter season, then one cannot produce power from solar energy.
The installation on the roofs of your house may not be suitable with the angle of incidence of the sun light, thus making it less suitable for power generation.
The power generated may not be sufficient enough to support your entire domestic needs. Also this form of energy is not suitable for industries as the power demand is too high.
Solar power generation will not be effective in cold countries which are in high northern and southern latitudes.
Technically, D.C power is produced by the solar cells. For using it, this has to be converted into A.C before using it.
Even though the solar energy has too many disadvantages, they are being overcome by many new ideas and technical developments. Thus it is very important to develop a system of power generation from sunlight and optimize it before it is too late to save our Planet Earth.