RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCE SOLAR POWER is a renewable resource that is environmentally friendly. Unlike fossil fuels solar energy is available just about everywhere on earth. And this source is always free, immune to rising energy prices. Solar energy can be used in many ways to provide heat, lighting, mechanical power and electricity. The two types of solar energy are Passive and Active solar energy.
Passive solar heating and cooling represents an important strategy for displacing traditional energy sources in buildings. Passive solar techniques make use of the steady supply of solar energy, by means of buildings designs. The term passive indicates that no additional mechanical equipment is used, other that the normal building elements. Solar gains are brought in through windows and minimum use is made of pumps or fans to distribute heat or effect cooling. All passive techniques use building elements such as walls, windows, floors and roofs to use heat generated by the sun. Solar heating designs collect and store thermal energy from direct sunlight.
Passive cooling minimizes the effects of solar radiation through landscape designed to shade buildings. Another solar concept is daylighting design, which uses natural daylight and contributes greatly to energy efficiency. The benefits of using passive solar techniques are simplicity and price. Approximately 300, 000 passive solar buildings have been designed and constructed in the U. S and more are on the way. Passive solar is a cost effective and easy to master building approach for the future.
Active solar systems use solar collectors and additional electricity to power pumps or fans to distribute the sun s energy. The heart of a solar collector is a black absorber, which converts the sun s energy into heat. The heat is then transferred to another location for immediate use or for storage to use at a later time. Heat is transferred by circulating water, antifreeze or sometimes air. (See illus.
no. 1) Illus. 1 Uses for active solar systems include the following: 1. DOMESTIC HOT WATER A. A common way to use the sun s heat is the use of a solar domestic hot water heater.
A typical system will provide 50-75 % of a family s hot water needs. Similar systems in industry greatly reduce fossil fuel consumption. There is also a dramatic cut in the cost of heating water. 2.
POOL HEATING. The water temperature in swimming pools can be regulated using active solar heating systems. For outdoor pools a properly sized solar water heater can replace a conventional heater, saving a tremendous amount on fuel bills and extending the swimming season. 3.
HIGHWAY CALL BOXES A. They are one of the most visible solar applications in the U. S. and can be found on thousands of miles of roads throughout the country. 4. NAVIGATIONAL AIDS A.
They are one of the first solar applications to be developed. These are systems around the world, including recent projects with the coast guard in the U. S and Canada. (See illus. On Canadian coast guard) 5.
SOLAR PUMPSA. Solar pumping is a perfect match for irrigation because peak sunlight coincides with peak water requirements of the crop. Watering systems can also be designed for continuous operation by utilizing a solar charged battery. In the home low voltage water pumps are ideal for garden and landscaping needs. 6. SOLAR WELL PUMPSA.
Solar pumps can provide water for livestock in pastures not serviced by conventional electricity. Water can be pumped from wells and boreholes of from surface streams, ponds and wetlands. Recent research has shown a significant improvement in livestock performance when they are fenced out of surface water bodies and supplied with clean water delivered by solar pumps More than two billion people in the world do not have access to safe drinking water. Solar pumps are helping to solve this problem by supplying clean water from wells and boreholes.
The use of nonrenewable energy has some benefits such as availability and historic use but it causes environmental damage that cannot be ignored. Among the most significant environmental affects of fossil fuel use is the emission of greenhouse gases. Such gases carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, carbon monoxide, and others which are found in nature block infrared rays from the earth to space and retain heat in the atmosphere. This greenhouse effect keeps the earth s climate hospitable to life. Scientist believes that human caused additions to greenhouse gasses are raising the global temperatures and may produce harmful changes in climate. Energy related green house gas emissions make up a large fraction of such emissions.
The U. S. is one of the world s largest consumers of fossil fuel and is responsible for a major portion of these emissions. Protecting the environment is a major reason for the use of solar energy. A few of the others are solar energy provides year comfort and reduces energy bills. In developing solar energy jobs at all skill levels are being created by the use of solar power.
Also developing countries have a need for low cost energy. Solar power represents a major market opportunity for U. S businesses. Energy security is a major reason to rely on the use of renewable energy.
After the oil embargo of the early 70 s by Arab countries our nation has increased its dependence on foreign oil supplies. This dependence can affect more that just our national energy policy. The use of solar energy would make us independent of foreign powers for our energy needs. As was noted earlier after the oil embargo s of the 70 s the U.
S. interest in solar energy has dwindled, along with the drop in oil prices. It would be to our advantage to encourage the use of solar energy at home and in developing world countries. Not only to provide inexpensive power, but also to protect the environment from the pollution that comes with the use of fossil fuels. (See attached graph on renewable energy use).