Did you know one hour of sunlight can meet the global energy requirements for one year? Solar energy is undoubtedly the most powerful and reliable source of energy available on the earth.
Found in abundance, Solar energy has the potential to fulfill the energy requirements of the future if it is harnessed properly. Its applicability in almost all sectors, it being a renewable source of energy, and it playing a hand in reducing electricity bills are just some factors which make this source of energy a powerful one. Yet its effective and efficient use does pose a great challenge before us.
We will learn about the advantages of solar energy through this blog. But first, we will look at the definition of solar energy.
What is Solar Energy?
Solar energy is any type of energy generated by the sun and is generated by the nuclear fusion that takes place inside it. It is capable of producing heat, causing chemical reactions, and generating electricity.
The nuclear fusion that takes place inside the sun when protons of hydrogen atom violently collide with the sun’s core and fuse to produce a helium atom, is known as PP (proton-proton) chain reaction. This reaction emits an enormous amount of energy as a by-product.
According to National Geographic, in the sun’s core, 620 million metric tons of hydrogen undergo fusion every second. You can guess that the amount of heat produced is indeed a lot. This solar energy is constantly flowing away from the sun and throughout the solar system.
The radiations coming from the sun are used to fuel chemical reactions that further helps in generating electricity. The utilization of solar energy does not require a heavy setup.
There are many more such advantages of solar energy. Let us go through them.
Advantages of solar energy
As already said, solar energy has a lot to offer. It is among the cleanest source of energy available on the earth.
We can list the advantages as:
Benefits of solar energy
1. Renewable source of energy
Among all the other benefits of solar energy, it being a renewable resource is its most talked-about advantage. A renewable resource is one that can be regenerated after harvesting. In other words, its use can be sustained forever.
For the production of solar energy, we need sunlight and we can never run out of sunlight, not at least for the next five billion years.
Unlike all other sources of energy like fossils, coal, petroleum, and nuclear energy; solar energy does not drain out. We can use it as much we want for every purpose.
At some point, when we are running out of resources, having a renewable resource around is nothing less than a blessing. This nature of solar energy makes it a critical factor for sustainable development.
2. Environment Friendly
The production of solar energy has the least negative impact on the environment as compared to other sources of energy. The solar panels used for the production produce no harmful gases.
Recommended Read: Can electric vehicles save the overall environment?
3. Diverse Applications
The use of solar energy is not just limited to producing electricity. It has several applications in our daily lives. Solar energy is used in a wide variety of devices, from a calculator to cooking and from agri-tech to space-tech.
Some of the examples of solar energy applications include solar electricity, solar water heating, solar heating, solar ventilation, solar lighting, portable solar, solar transportation, etc.
Apart from these uses, some creative uses of solar energy in our daily lives can be, or already are, solar fabrics, solar-powered roads, floating solar farms, etc.
4. Efficiency and Energy Security
Solar energy has greater efficiency as compared to other renewable sources of energy.
For example, solar panels have efficiencies as high as 19%, which means that 19% of the sun’s energy is converted into electricity. On the other hand, the efficiency of biomass is much, much lower – perhaps less than 1%.
Other than this, one additional advantage of using solar energy is that it provides energy security. We may not be able to go on to buy or capture all the sunlight. Everyone can install solar panels on their rooftops and make use of solar energy.
Advantages of solar energy
5. Pocket Friendly and Low maintenance costs
Using solar energy to generate electricity can help reduce the burden of paying high electricity bills. As some of the energy needs are fulfilled by solar power systems, the energy bills go down.
Since the maintenance costs of solar panels are quite low, it is easy to bear it. After the installation of solar panels, all you have to do is to keep them clean. The solar power companies also give 20-25 years of warranty.
The extent to which you will be benefitted also depends on the size of the solar system as well as your energy usage. In addition, if you live in Great Britain you can also receive payments for the surplus energy under the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) scheme.
To conclude, we can say that solar energy is the best alternative energy source available right now. Being a renewable source of energy it is available in abundance and won’t last for at least five billion years.
The advantages of harnessing solar energy to fulfill our energy requirements are sufficient enough. Its increased use may prove to be economical. And the greatest threat to the earth is climate change.
The use of solar power can help decrease carbon footprints and eventually prevent global warming.
Countries across the world are trying to make the best use of solar energy. The US alone has installed 3.8 gigawatts (GW) of solar PV capacity in Q3 2020 to reach 88.9 GW of total installed capacity, enough to power 16.4 million American homes.
In India, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has set an ambitious target to set up renewable energy capacities to the tune of 227 GW by 2022, of which about 114 GW is planned for solar energy.