“Use of solar energy is near a solution” read a headline in the prestigious New York Times on April 4, 1931. As a premonition that solidified more than 80 years later , millions of human beings around the world are supplied with electricity by means of renewable energies such as solar and humanity is preparing to accelerate the transition towards a low carbon economy, aware of the finiteness of fossil fuels and their harmful effects of carbon emissions for the environment, as the main cause of global warming.
Solar energy, unlike other types of energy, will never die as the Sun still has 6,500 million years of life left, according to NASA. In much less time, solar technology has evolved to become competitive with conventional sources of electricity generation in some countries, and in just a few decades, it will become a substantial part of a globally sustainable energy system.
Furthermore, the conditions for its development are optimal: every hour, the sun throws more energy – in the form of light and heat – onto Earth than enough to meet the global needs of a full year. Energy needs that solar radiation could satisfy 4,000 times each year.
In fact, according to Renewable Energies Info, the Earth’s surface receives 120,000 terawatts of solar radiation, which is 20,000 times more power than the entire planet needs. To defend the optimism deposited in this type of energy, the Union of Concerned Scientists maintains that only 18 days of solar radiation on Earth contain the same amount of energy as that accumulated by all the world’s reserves of coal, oil and natural gas.
By selecting West Wire Solar as your ally in this process you can rest assured that innovation will be part of this process of installing new solar systems. It’s the smartest choice you can make because we will completely devote our efforts to provide you with a unique experience, friendly service backed up by our dedication at the time of offering customer support.
Understanding solar energy
Solar energy is produced by light – photovoltaic energy – or heat from the sun – solar thermal – for the generation of electricity or the production of heat. Inexhaustible and renewable, since it comes from the sun, it is obtained through panels and mirrors.
Photovoltaic solar cells convert sunlight directly into electricity by the so-called photoelectric effect, by which certain materials are capable of absorbing photons (light particles) and releasing electrons, generating an electric current. On the other hand, solar thermal collectors use panels or mirrors to absorb and concentrate solar heat, transfer it to a fluid and conduct it through pipes for use in buildings and facilities or also for the production of electricity (solar thermoelectric).
What are the benefits of solar energy?
Solar energy has numerous benefits that make it one of the most promising. Renewable, non-polluting and available throughout the planet, it contributes to sustainable development and job creation in the areas where it is established.
Likewise, the simplicity of this technology makes it suitable for use in isolated network points, rural areas or areas with difficult access. Solar energy is also useful for generating electricity on a large scale and injecting it into the grid, especially in geographical areas whose meteorology provides abundant hours of sunshine per year.
The solar collection modules require relatively simple maintenance, which, together with the progressive and accelerated decrease in the cost of photovoltaic cells –-, explain the currently favorable prospects for solar technology. Solar plants, in addition, do not emit polluting gases and are extremely quiet.
Another beneficial aspect of the energy that comes from the sun is its condition as a generator of local wealth, since its implantation in one country reduces energy dependence on other countries. Although it is true that solar energy – such as wind energy – is intermittent, that is, directly dependent on weather or day-night cycles, the rapid advance experienced by electrical storage technologies will increasingly minimise this circumstance and increase the participation of this type of energy in the energy system.
Summary of solar energy benefits
- Avoids global warming
- Reduces the use of fossil fuels
- Reduces energy imports
- Generate wealth and local employment
- Contributes to sustainable development
- It is modular and very versatile, adaptable to different situations
- Allows applications for large-scale power generation and also for small cores isolated from the network
How do you get energy from the sun?
The sun provides energy in two different ways:
It provides heat, harnessed by mirrors so that the sun’s rays are concentrated in a receiver that reaches temperatures of up to 1,000 ºC. Heat is used to heat a fluid that generates steam. The steam finally moves a turbine and produces electricity.
It provides light that is converted to electricity through photovoltaic solar panels. Photovoltaic panels are made up of groups of cells or solar cells that transform light (photons) into electrical energy (electrons).
Solar energy will become the cheapest source of electricity in many parts of the world in the next ten years, in a context of continued drop in the cost of photovoltaic panels, says International Business Time, echoing research carried out by the ‘ German think tank ‘Agora Energiewende.
Since the 1980s, panels to generate electricity from the sun have been cheaper by 10% per year. A trend that would enable this technology to meet 20% of global energy needs in 2027.
Fortune, a reputed business magazine, collects a study that ensures that by the end of 2016 solar energy will offer more newly created jobs than the oil sector. In the US, says The Solar Foundation, 2015 marked the third consecutive year of job growth within the solar energy sector.
If you are looking to renew your energy systems and adopt a better system West Wire Solar provides world-class solar power services that change energy consumption in households and commercial buildings completely. We are happy to help you protect your financial development with the adoption of second to none solar power solutions that will also reduce carbon emissions considerably, helping our skies and waters remain healthier and cleaner.