What is Solar Energy?

What is Solar Energy?

Did you know that all of the energy we use
comes from the sun? You probably know that’s true for solar
panels, but the sun is also the ultimate source for energy generated by wind, water, and fossil
fuels. It works like this. Heat from the sun drives the air currents
and water cycle that turn wind turbines and power hydroelectric dams. Meanwhile, the rays of the sun also the plants
grow that ultimately become wood, coal, and gas. What if we could cut out the middleman to
open the most direct path between the sun and the energy we use every day? Let’s take a step back so we can understand
the real power and potential of the sun. The sun is a massive, flaming sphere of gases,
330 thousand times more massive than Earth. At its core, the sun is 27 million degrees
Fahrenheit, which is 60 thousand times the temperature of your oven when you bake a pizza! The sun gives off LOTS of energy into space
as heat and light, called solar energy. If we could capture all of the solar energy
that reaches the Earth’s surface, we could continuously run a 25-inch television on every
square meter of Earth – and still have energy some left over! Right now, we aren’t using all this energy
— instead, we mostly rely on coal, oil, natural gas, and other sources. But these sources aren’t renewable, which
means they’ll eventually run out. In fact, if we keep using these non-renewable
resources at the rate we are now, we may run out of oil and gas in the next 50 or so years
and coal in the next 115 years. Not only are these non-renewable resources
going to run out, they’re also polluting our planet and contributing to climate change. The sun’s energy, on the other hand, will
not “run out” for the next 5 billion years. That makes it a renewable resource. Other renewable resources like wind and water
can also provide us with energy. But even all the energy we can get from all
these sources added together is still less than 1 percent of the solar energy reaching
Earth!! It’s clear that the potential of solar energy
massively outshines its competitors. How exactly do we harness solar energy? Solar panels directly convert sunlight into
usable electricity using special materials, like silicon. Another way to harness solar energy is through
a process called concentrated solar power, which uses thousands of mirrors to reflect
sunlight onto a tower. The heat captured in the tower makes steam
that flows through a steam turbine, which generates electricity. But even though we have these promising technologies
to capture solar energy, there are still many challenges with using solar energy on a large
scale. For example, the amount of solar energy we
can harness can change based on place and time. Some parts of the world get much more sun
than others — solar panels in the Sahara desert will produce more energy than those
in Seattle. But even in the sunniest places, the sunlight
still isn’t constant. The changing of seasons, the cycle from day
to night, and even clouds in the sky can reduce the amount of available energy. To make solar energy usable when and where
it’s less available, we need to improve energy storage and transmission systems. Above all, we also need to make solar technologies
more efficient and less expensive. Currently, less than 1% of all the energy
produced and used in the United States comes from solar energy. But as more researchers, private citizens,
entrepreneurs, and government agencies are recognizing its amazing potential, we’re
moving closer to a solar-powered society every day. The more we advance our use of solar energy,
the brighter our future can be!

40 thoughts on “What is Solar Energy?

  1. sorry but hydro power is the best producing renewable resource out there so proof your facts first but apart from that great video! very educational! Four and a half stars out of Five

  2. This book [link here>>>https://plus.google.com/u/3/113778429958471787540/posts/67MrRb1YGej ] got me thru the design and installation of a complete off-grid system for my lake cottage. The process of site evaluation, system component selection, wiring, etc. is complex, but with a lot of study and this book, I ended up very happy with the results. Everything you need to know is here. I recommend it for anyone who is starting with little solar panel knowledge and wants to end up with a whole house system

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  7. Great stuff! Nice work. The public really needs to see more of this. Have you heard anything about a new system called Optimal Future Energy Deployment ( tinyurl.com/y3gpstue )? I’ve heard some interesting things about it and my brother got some amazing results. I’ve also been searching for solutions to the problem of wind turbines killing birds and bats. Ultrasonic acoustics looks like a possible answer to saving bats, but I haven’t read anything lately about the best way to keep birds away

  8. This is AWESOME! We talk about this stuff in our channel.

    Estamos basados en México, y en Invictus estamos buscando cambiar a la mayoría de los hogares e industrias a energía 100% renovable!

    Si te interesa este tema, pasa por nuestro canal!

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