Solar power is the energy that is tapped from the sun. This electricity is converted by the use of concentrated solar power or photovoltaic panels. Using lenses and mirrors the concentrated solar power panels harness sunlight projected on a large surface into a small beam. This heat can be used to heat water in households.
History of solar power
In the 1860s there was fear that coal would soon become impossible to find. Later in the 1970s there was a worldwide energy crisis that made governments to reconsider their energy policies. This saw the rise of solar power initiatives. Various factors have come in to play including the increase in the pro-sustainable energy debates.
A number of massive solar energy plants were then erected in a number of countries. In the 1980s the first commercial concentrating solar thermal power plants were set up. The first biggest solar power plant was created in California in the Mojave Desert. This sustainable energy option has now become a very cost effective source of energy for countries that enjoy a lot of sunlight.
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Solar power generation is a worthwhile investment in areas with sufficient sunlight. One of the obvious disadvantages of solar power is that it cannot be harnessed from very cold places, where they experience sunlight a few times a year. There is no security since no power can be harnessed in cold weather or at night. Most small scale producers of solar energy use it as a supplement for other reliable sources of energy.
Solar power in the future
Governments are offering incentives to investors to promote the adoption of this venture. However, most people are still harnessing solar power at micro levels. it is mostly used to cater for household energy needs.
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Generation of solar power remains expensive. It is estimated that by 2020 the price for consumption of solar power will be at a high of 25.3p/KWh. Production of solar power using photovoltaic panels remains relatively high. Future developments in this technology is expected to make the cost of production to lower, becoming more accessible and affordable.
How clean is solar power
Contrary to popular belief, solar energy has a relatively high carbon print. Solar power has a carbon foot print of 72gCO 2 e/kW in as far as the process of fabricating the solar panels is considered. Further research is underway to come up with better technologies for carrying out this fabrication in order to bring down this carbon foot print. Better methods of harnessing power will make solar power a more sustainable source of energy. Solar power however remains a better option in comparison to other sources in as far as green energy is concerned.
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