Solar Energy – The Sustainable Energy of the Future

As the Sun puts forth light, so it brings forth life. This planet represents the self, one’s personality and ego, the spirit and what it is that makes the individual unique. It is our identity about our face to the world. The Sun also speaks to creative ability and the power of the individual to meet the challenges of everyday life. 

The Sun spends about a month visiting each sign and takes a year to journey through the 12 signs of the zodiac. It is masculine energy and rules Leo and the Fifth house. The Sun is worshiped as a goddess in many countries from the ancient days. Perhaps, this is also proven scientifically that it gives tremendous amount of energy by way of heat and light (radiation waves) to the living things. 

Though, this energy isn’t fully tapped due to the lack of technology and awareness. Once regarded by astronomers as a small and relatively insignificant star, the Sun is now thought to be brighter than about 85% of the stars in the Milky Way. The English weekday name ‘Sunday’ is derived from Old English ‘Sun’s day’.

If we look into the past, the solar energy initially was explored and used in 1500 BC by an Egyptian ruler Amenhotep III supposedly had ‘sounding statues’ that emitted a tone when air inside was heated by the sun. Solar energy is the radiation produced by nuclear fusion inside the sun’s core. It takes millions of years for the energy in the sun’s core to make its way to the solar surface. However, about half the incoming solar energy reaches the Earth’s surface due to various factors. 
It takes eight minutes to travel 93 million miles to earth (186,000 miles per second). Once it reaches the earth, the incoming solar radiation, or isolation, is absorbed and reflected. It is said that the amount of the sun’s energy that reaches the surface of the Earth every hour is greater than the total amount of energy that the world’s human population uses in a year. 
Also, by one calculation, 30 days of sunshine striking the earth have the energy equivalent of the total of all the planet’s fossil fuels (includes used and unused – it’s really an amazing energy source for the future generation!). It is a sustainable energy source as the sun shines everywhere, and not just where people are. By photosynthesis green plants convert solar energy into chemical energy, which produces food, wood and the biomass from which fossil fuels are derived. This implies that the Sun is the origin of all the energy sources which are known to us. 
There are four factors that affect how much energy any location on the earth receives. The amount of energy delivered to any places dependent on time of day, season, latitude, and cloudiness. The four technologies employed including Day-lighting to make use of solar energy are: Passive Solar heating, Active solar heating (solar collectors), Concentrating solar thermal (water is converted into steam for electricity) and Photovoltaic (PV – converts sunlight directly to electricity) this is potentially one of the most useful renewable energy technologies. 
PV system is ideal for remote applications where other power sources are impractical or unavailable, such as in the Swiss Alps or on navigational buoys. The biggest advantage of solar energy – it doesn’t produce air, thermal or water pollution and doesn’t disrupt the natural environment & ecology.
The main challenge for using the solar energy at the moment is the continuous availability due to lack of proper storage technology. It doesn’t shine all the time in any given location; it cannot be counted on for continuous energy. The storage of solar energy is still to be optimized and further development is required to get the uninterrupted electricity. 
Another negative aspect to using photo-voltaic is in the production of the materials in a PV cell. The entire production process does have a negative environmental impact, primarily from the energy required to produce the PV cell. 
There is a very small amount of heavy metals, such as lead and cobalt, produced in the purification of the materials being used, but that is far less than the amount of carbon dioxide and other air pollutants produced when the electricity necessary for production is generated. Replacing conventional, fossil fuel based electrical power generation will significantly reduce this impact.


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