Solar Energy: A Renewable Energy Source By Shelly Shinevar
Trivia The Sun is 93 million miles away from the Earth. How many minutes does it take for light to travel this distance? The Sun will exhaust its supply of hydrogen in about __ billion years, at which time it will collapse under it’s own weight and become very hot. Eventually, it will become big enough to swallow the orbits of Venus & the Earth.
More trivia:Solar energy alone could meet the world’s energy supply needs simply by covering as little as ___% of the world’s deserts with photovoltaics.
Solar energy has been harnessed since ancient times: The Greeks and the Chinese first began to build buildings facing the sun for light and heat. This is an example of passive solar techniques.
Passive Solar Technology Involves selecting materials capable of absorbing sunlight and heat such as wood, earth, concrete or asphalt or Designing spaces to circulate air or to face the sun.
A traditional Chinese house made of mudbrick. The homesusually faced south to keep out the cold north wind.
An ancient Greek peasant hut, built of mud and embedding sticks andstraws, would face the entrance towards the sun to utilize the heat.
Active solar technologies involve using photovoltaic panels, pumps and fans toconvert sunlight into useful applications.
The further away you get from theequator, the less sunlight is available. The ability to store solar energy is very important.
Various techniques and methods involved in usingsolar energy: Greenhouses Daylighting systems Solar hot water systems Solar cookers Photovoltaics Concentrating solar power (CSP) Solar furnaces Solar ponds Solar cars and boats Solar thermoelectric plants and devices
More recent inventions make utilizingsolar energy more energy efficient: For flat commercial roofs, a new line of “stick- on” solar modules have been developed. MIT chemical engineers have developed carbon nanotubes capable of concentrating solar energy up to 100 times more than a photovoltaic cell.
The crown heralding the largest operational PVplant in North America now belongs to the 100megawatts on-line of the 290-megawatt AguaCaliente solar project in Yuma County, Arizona.Construction is still in progress, with completionexpected in 2014.