CROATIAN CENTER of RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES
Sun has been producing energy in the form of radiations since billions of years without taking any rest. The energy obtained from radiations of the sun is called as solar energy. We know plants absorb energy from the sun by the process called photosynthesis. The humans beings and animals eat plants, thus directly or indirectly all the plants, animals and human beings are dependent on the sun. Human beings have learned to extract the energy from solar radiations and use it for various purposes.
Solar energy can be converted into heat and electricity. The British astronomer John Herschel is considered to be the first person in modern days to utilize solar energy. In the period of 1830s, on his expedition to Africa, he used solar energy to cook food. Since then there have been lots of developments in the field of solar energy.
The importance of solar energy has been understood since ages. Considering the fact that human life is crucially dependent on the energy emitted by sun, sun is considered to be the God in many religions. In Hindu mythology Sun God is considered to be the sources of energy and wisdom, which is always on the move to spread its energies and knowledge. The main deity in Egyptian mythology is sun god named Ra, who was also the first king. In Greek mythology, Helios is considered to be the sun god, who moves on the chariot throughout the world to illuminate it and spread the knowledge. Sun is also important part of many other mythologies and religions.
In which Places is Solar Energy most abundant?
Solar energy is the most promising energy with the potential for meeting all our future energy requirements. The main benefit of the solar energy is that it is available in all parts of the world. The quantity of solar energy is so huge that it is capable of providing many times the energy currently demanded throughout the world. Solar energy is being used for number of applications in countries like US, China, India, and many others.
The only problem with solar energy is that it is not available uniformly during all the hours of the day and all the days of the year. However, when supplemented with the other energies like thermal, and hydroelectric, solar energy can effectively meet our long-term requirements with little dependence on fossil fuels.
Applications of Solar Energy
Some of the common applications of solar energy are:
1) Solar water heaters: The solar water heaters comprise of the solar collectors that absorb solar energy which is use to heat water. The hot water can be used for various domestic and industrial purposes, in bathrooms, homes and swimming pools.
2) Producing heating effect: The solar energy can also be used for heating of the rooms during winter seasons.
3) Cooking food: Cooking food is one of earliest applications of the solar energy. Solar cookers are available in different shapes and sizes with different types of solar collectors. The most commonly used type of solar cooker consists of box inside which the raw food to be cooked it kept. At the top there is a reflective mirror on which the solar rays are directed. The solar rays get reflected on the utensil in which the food is kept. Due to concentrated solar rays, the food gets heated and cooked.
4) Photovoltaic (PV) cells: PV cells are the devices that convert solar energy directly into electricity, which can be used for running of number of appliances like calculators, mobiles, lanterns, street lights etc. The electricity generated from the PV cells can be stored in battery, which can be utilized for lighting the home and also running the cars. In the solar power plants large numbers of solar panels are spread over big area spread across several acres. The solar energy collected by the panels is transmitted to the PV cells that convert it into electricity.
5) Solar thermal power plants: The working of solar power plants is similar to thermal power plants. In these plants instead of coal, solar energy is used to convert water into steam, which drives the turbines that eventually produce electricity. At the end of 2008 there were nine solar thermal power plants operating in US.
Benefits and Limitations of Solar Energy
There are number of benefits of solar energy including:
1) Solar energy is available abundantly and free of cost in many parts of the world.
2) Solar energy is considered to be clean and green energy since it does not produce any environmental pollution like carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases.
3) The equipment required to collect solar energy can be kept at suitable locations in the campus of the building without affecting its aesthetics or surrounding atmosphere.
However, there are some limitations to solar power most notably:
1) The solar energy is not available in uniform quantity. The intensity of solar radiations changes during different hours of day and various days of the year, different climatic conditions and at different locations of the place. At times large amount of energy may be available, but at other times the available energy may be insufficient to meet the demands.
2) Large solar collectors are required to collect the solar energy of required quantity, which occupy large space inside the building.
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CROATIAN CENTER of RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES