Be it fossil fuels, natural gas or mined uranium… the entire planet is on the verge of depleting its entire non-renewable sources of energy. And as such the major question in front of the entire human population is: how do we substitute these energy sources and preserve whatever is left for the future generations to come? The answer to this is pretty simple and has been staring at us since the evolution of earth in the form of the sun and the energy generated by it in the form of solar energy.
Solar energy basically includes the heat and radiant light from the sun and this is harnessed via machines and equipment into performing a number of tasks which otherwise would have required the usage of electricity.
The earth receives about 100 to 300 exajoules of potential solar energy. If this could be properly harnessed, it would be twice the amount of energy ever created by coal or petroleum or mined uranium. Solar energy can be utilized into fuelling power for a number of devices like solar heaters, solar lights or even the latest development, the solar cars.
The advantages offered by solar energy are numerous:
- Being a renewable source of energy, it is infinite in amount and can never be depleted.
- It does not cause any sort of pollution.
- As solar energy does not require mining or digging, it does not affect the ecosystem.
- One only requires the device that harnesses solar energy, the energy itself is free!
There are a number of products that can be used to convert solar energy into heat, light or other form of energy. Here are some of the major ones:
Solar Water Heater
Solar water heaters are probably the oldest machines ever developed to use solar energy. In this system, the solar energy collectors are kept on the roof and the water storage tank is kept horizontally above it, there is no requirement to pump the water as hot water rises naturally and passes through. This is the most convenient use of solar energy as hot water is required almost throughout the year.
Solar Lamps are the most popular solar device used throughout the world. This indigenous device comprises a rechargeable battery, photovoltaic cell and an LED lamp. When kept in the sun, the photovoltaic cell harnesses the solar energy and charges the battery, which then lights the LED lamp. Solar lamps kept outside get charged the whole day and automatically illuminate at dusk and shine overnight – saving money and ecosystem, and also giving an amazing look.
Solar cooker is a device that uses the rays of the sun to cook, heat or pasteurize food. It is a device that has immense utility in rural areas since it is low priced and does not require much technological knowledge to run. Moreover, it does not require any fossil fuel to run and the operating cost is very less.
In the situation of depleting fossil fuels and extreme pollution, solar energy is the need of the hour. The initial cost involved varies with the product and brand you choose to go with.