Solar Energy Paper
Warner Pacific College
April 4, 2014
With the use of energy within our everyday lives with, electricity, cars, and even cell phones we need to look at how we will be able to continue with this type of consumption without eliminating our natural resources. We as a society are highly dependent on resources such as oil, natural gas, and coal. Oil being the most utilized is in high demand due to the fact it is becoming a highly limited resource. So what do we as a society do? We need to start looking into a more renewable such as solar, wind, or water. In my past career experience I have worked for a company SolarWorld. “As the largest U.S. solar manufacturer for more than 35 years, SolarWorld is uniquely recognized as America’s solar leader” (SolarWorld, 2013).With my experience within the manufacturing process of solar energy I want to explore the benefits of solar energy.
Solar energy is also known as “Solar photovoltaic generation, known as PV.” Solar energy has a much greater benefit to other such as water and wind. Wind technology is currently loud, and takes a great amount of space to utilize the machines as well as needs a great amount of wind with very little electrical outcome. Water energy I think is a more effective energy source than wind due to the fact we could implement a better dam system to utilize the dams we have already built. We unfortunately have not as a society been able to expand on the idea of water but I know some companies are exploring better options to utilize this resource. Solar energy however, is in the infancy of its technology. I think as they explore better materials to utilize the suns energy we will see more and more solar energy being utilized. Currently, solar energy is the most effective and condensed equipment to produce energy. “Based on comparative life-cycle analyses of power sources, “PV electricity contributes 96 percent to 98 percent less greenhouse gases than electricity generated from 100 percent coal and 92 percent to 96 percent less greenhouse gases than the European electricity mix,” said Carol Olson, a researcher at the Energy Research Center of the Netherlands. “Compared with electricity from coal, PV electricity over its lifetime uses 86 to 89 percent less water, occupies or transforms over 80 percent less land, presents approximately 95 percent lower toxicity to humans, contributes 92 to 97 percent less to acid rain, and 97 to 98 percent less to marine eutrophication,” she said. Eutrophication is the discharge of excess nutrients that causes algal blooms” (Powers, 2013). With these numbers solar energy by far is the safest and most effective source of energy within this wave of new energy technology.
Within my past experience the only problem with solar energy is the materials use. The solar companies are having difficulty with increasing the battery power of the cells within the panel. They are also looking into increasing the longevity of the solar panels themselves. As of right now solar panels last up to 20 years before needing to be replaced. “A typical solar panel produces around 200 watts of power. There’s a little bit of variation on this, based on the size and efficiency of the solar panel you choose; you’ll see panels that produce 205, 210, even 230 watts” (Llorens, 2012). This is only a fraction of you use within a day. This is where the technology does have room to expand.
Solar energy is by far the most prospective new energy source for society. There are growth opportunities within this technology that are limited to wind and water. If scientist and inventors discover a new material to create these cells than solar panels will be used by not just the few who can afford them but by all and will help not only us as society but our environment as well.
Llorens, D. (2012). How much electricity does a solar panel produce? Retrieved from Solar Power Rocks: http://www.solarpowerrocks.com/solar-basics/how-much-electricity-does-a-solar-panel-produce/
Powers, D. S. (2013, November 11). Solar Power Begins to Shine as Environmental Benefits Pay Off. Retrieved from The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/11/business/energy-environment/solar-power-begins-to-shine-as-environmental-benefits-pay-off.html?_r=2&
SolarWorld. (2013, January). Made in America. Retrieved from SolarWorld: http://www.solarworld-usa.com/why-choose-solarworld/solar-panels-made-in-usa