With 173,000 terawatts of solar energy that constantly strikes the Earth, it has become the most abundant energy source in the world. This amount of energy is more than 10,000 times the world’s total energy use.
Solar energy is a type of energy that is generated by the sun, which can be directly or indirectly harnessed for human use. Sunlight is the Earth’s best source of solar energy and if it is properly and suitably harnessed, this widely spread source has the potential ability to fulfill and suffice the entire world’s future energy needs.
In modern times, solar energy is expected to become highly appealing and the demand for it to increase because of its non-polluting aspects as compared to competing sources such as fossil fuels and petroleum. More than that, it is able to provide the Earth with as much or even more energy as all proven supplies of oil, coal, and natural gas.
All of this sounds very fascinating but it’s really not as simple and easy as it sounds. Despite the sun being an extremely powerful and large energy source, the intensity it’s powering towards the Earth is not as high as we think. Factors such as distance and the Earth’s atmosphere and clouds absorbing sunlight – which are there for reasons that are just as important, such as protecting us from heat and harmful waves and radiation.
The composition of the radiation that the sun is emitting is 56& infrared, 36% visible radiation, and 7% ultraviolet. Although not all of this reaches the surface of the earth due to the scattering caused by molecules in the atmosphere.
How solar energy surrounds you in everyday life?
Regardless of the Sun’s distance from the Earth, solar energy might be closer to you than you think. A lot of daily operations that happen around us are affected by solar energy such as the process of photosynthesis. If you have a vegetable or flower garden in your yard, growing produce would be impossible without solar energy.
Producers such as plants, algae, bacteria, and fungi rely directly on solar energy – absorbing the light they get from the Sun and converting them into nutrients they need to grow. While us consumers who feed on producers for nutrients would simply cease to survive as we all, directly and indirectly, depend on solar energy.
Advantages of solar energy
With the recent continuous growing popularity of solar energy, it presents itself with various advantages. One of the biggest advantages of using solar energy is that it is a renewable resource – the Earth will have a steady and infinite supply of sunlight for the next couple of billions of years.
Moreover, considering the large magnitude in terms of availability that solar energy has, makes it an even more appealing source of electricity. In the 2000 World Energy Assessment, the United Nations Development Program found that the annual potential of solar energy was 1,575-49,837 exajoules which is multiple times larger than the total world energy consumption which was 559.8 exajoules in the year 2012.
Having scratched the surface of solar energy and just a few of its countless benefits, we can conclude that it would be a shame to waste such a great source of energy. Not only does it provide stability in terms of energy resources, but it is also cleaner and cheaper in the long run.
With the advancements being made in the use of solar energy, we are riding multitudes of progress in terms of solar panel efficiency. As technologies continue to catch up, it is safe to say that solar is rising in terms of reshaping our energy economy.