What Is Solar Energy Essay

926 Words 4 Pages
Solar Energy
The sun is the most abundant energy source available and used on Earth, hands down. The problem is, much of the energy from the sun that is used on Earth is used by primary producers, not by us, and what they do use is an incredibly small compared to the 89,300 TW retained on Earth at any instant. What we use is smaller still (22). The first step in harnessing the awesome potential our very own star is understanding just how to do that. Think of the inside of a solar cell, the components that make up solar panels, as a grid of electrons set in place that form a sort of circuit. When a photon hits the cell, it knocks an electron out of place, sending it through the circuit, and thus creating a miniscule amount of electricity. The combined efforts of millions of photons striking
…show more content…
But how bad is that? Actually, pretty good considering it would take 10% efficiency solar panels covering less that one-fifth of one percent of the Earth’s surface to supply the power used around the planet in 2001 (23). Solar panels are best used in areas that see high amounts of solar radiation. This paints equatorial areas as prime real estate for capturing and converting the sun’s gracious gift of photons into electricity. While solar energy has become more economically viable and more commonly used, it is still pricey, and it is all in the materials and research. Most photovoltaic cells utilize silicone, which takes a great deal of effort and energy to purify. Furthermore, unlike other forms of energy that just need improving, solar energy is still taking its first steps, so to speak. The solar industry is still doing research and inventing because it is just so new that there is room for breakthrough studies and inventions and until solar technology is firmly established, the cost of materials and research is likely to remain high. That being said, consumers are met with incentives and energy bill cuts for using solar panels, which helps offset the high

Related Documents