Humans, plants and animals have used sun energy for thousands of years. Long before washing machines and dryers were invented, people used to wash clothes and hang them out in the sun to dry. Plants need the energy of the sun to photosynthesize and some animals depend on these plants for survival. The sun is the nearest star to earth and without it, life would be impossible.
The use of solar energy is not new and decades ago, sunny cities around the states used solar power and solar thermal methods to heat water. Other energy sources such as coal were later harnessed and solar harvesting was replaced. Coal produces harmful emissions such as carbon dioxide that is harmful to the ozone layer. Moreover, it requires deep mining that can contaminate drinking water or cause human casualties in the event of an earth tremor. Sun energy is making a comeback as the United States seeks to find sustainable ways to end dependence on foreign oil and energy sources that are not environment friendly.
Solar energy can be used to heat water in the home. This involves buying solar panels that have pipes in them. There is an inlet pipe that brings in water to the solar panel and once it is heated, it goes out through the outlet into a reservoir of the home. The pipes are usually painted black in order for the water to heat at a fast rate. The use of sun energy can drastically reduce one’s energy bills but solar panels work best during the sunny months and are mostly used in the summer.
Solar panels are currently used by some industries to produce energy needed to run systems that convert raw materials into finished products. The energy provided by the sun energy is clean and pure and will therefore not emit harmful by products that are harmful to the environment. It is also a reliable and sustainable form of energy that does not require harnessing and extracting and which will always be there.
Solar energy can be used to provide electricity. Some solar facilities have a curved trough made of mirrors that draw in the rays of the sun to heat one giant pipe that boils water and produces steam. The steam can turn turbines to produce electricity.
The sun energy can be harnessed to provide electricity through solar cells also known as photoelectric cells – this is how some calculators work. These cells are activated by the rays of the sun and when fully charged, can provide power. Many homes are now placing panels that have these cells inside for their own electricity.
Solar energy is free and does not require any fuel to harness it. It is a renewable resource because the sun will always shine and can be used in remote places where electricity is not available. The con is that panels do not work at night, solar plants are very expensive to install and the energy is not always reliable.