Solar output is unequivocally the largest source of energy for humans since ancient times. Directly and indirectly, the sun’s power output has shaped the earth as we know it today. Energy from the sun is stored by trees and other photosynthetic organisms which are then transferred through the food chain. Over millions of years, ancient plant and animal material have been converted into the fossil fuels that we know today.
We humans can also access the energy from the sun in ways other than the biological path. Ingenious engineering has led our civilization to the point that sunlight can now be converted into electricity. Keep on reading as we will discuss some facts that you probably didn’t know about solar energy.
As stated above, the sun is the most abundant energy resource on the planet. The sun strikes the Earth continuously and produces about 170,000 terawatts of energy at any one time. That’s just by hitting half of the planet’s surface. It is estimated that this output is about 10,000 times the total energy that the world uses.
Humans can convert the sun’s energy into other forms through PV (photovoltaic) or CSP (concentrated solar power). CSP uses mirrors to focus the sun’s rays onto towers which contain boilers, converting the sun’s heat into mechanical energy to turn turbines and generators that then generate electricity. Think of it as a much bigger version of a solar cooker.
The world’s largest CSP facility is the Ivanpah Solar Power Facility located at the Mojave Desert in California. It produces about 392 megawatts of power which can be stored when you need to use it after sunset.
The US Department of Energy had invested in solar power since the 1980s, in projects like Solar One and Solar Two. Both are located in the Mojave Desert, as well. Solar Two is using molten salt for storing solar energy since it can store heat at very high temperatures.
There will be an expanding role for public lands in expanding the US solar and other renewable energy development since they have significant solar, wind and geothermal resources. However, not all public lands can be used for this purpose. To lessen environmental impact, these projects ideally should be done on degraded lands near transmission lines and roads.
The first PV cell was created by Bell Laboratories in 1954. Since then, PV tech has progressed to the point that solar panels now have an 18% efficiency rating, more than 4 times the efficiency of the original Bell Labs cell. This is probably due to its use in the US space program.
Both CSP and PV technology have a very little environmental impact since they do not emit greenhouse gases or other byproducts. However, PV technology is leading CSP in residential use since it can convert solar energy into electricity directly using an inverter. Plus, it has lower installation costs and is more cost-effective than CSP.
Solar is the future of energy resources. Let Soleeva Energy apply years of experience into getting you the perfect solar panel module for your home. Contact our professionals at 833-820-8080 or visit us online at https://www.soleeva.com and schedule your consultation now.