Capturing The Sun
The Sun is by far the largest object in the solar system. It contains more that 99.8 percent of the total mass of the solar system. In fact, the next largest star in our galaxy is less than half the mass of the Sun.
The outer layers of the Sun rotate at different speeds, with the equator of the Sun rotating once every 35.4 days, whereas the poles rotates only every 36 days. This odd behaviour is due to the fact that the Sun is not a solid body like the earth, but rather a gas planet. The different rotation extends down to the interior of the sun, but the core rotates as a solid body. The temperature at the core of the Sun is extreme – at over 5506 degrees Celsius – and the density is more than 150 times that of water.
The Sun’s Power is so extreme that in one second of concentrated energy, it produces one trillion megatons. This basically means that is one second, you can power the entire earth 500 000 years. However, because the sun is located so far from the earth, only around 20 percent of that power reaches the earth. Although, just imagine all that energy reaching the earth and we are not really focusing our resources in capturing it.
So how do we capture this energy? Solar energy is captured and converted to normal energy through solar panels. These panels then turn the collected heat into energy. The energy is then transferred into an energy box and used when needed. For instance, at home it would be to heat up your geezer, while at the office it would be used to heat the building or keep the light bulbs burning.
What is the future of solar power? Solar energy technology is set for significant growth in the 21st century. More and more engineers and architects are recognising the value of solar power and incorporating them into building designs. The government has also realised the importance of obtaining renewable energy and therefore, have offered houses tax cut incentives for people whose homes and businesses run off renewable energy – such as solar power. A recent statistic revealed in the United States of America (USA) has estimated that at least half of all houses and businesses will run off solar power by the year 2025.
The only drawback is that solar power is still relatively expensive to capture and produce. However, due to the increase in demand and ‘production’ of this renewable energy, the costs are set to drastically reduce within the next 10 to 15 years, ensuring that solar power is an affordable replacement for oil and coal.
There are three major advantages of using solar power:
No greenhouse gases: The first advantage is that solar power does not produce greenhouse gases and therefore, is good for the environment. With one city switching completely too solar power, you can avoid 20 000 tonnes per year of carbon emissions.
Lower cost: The second major advantage is that solar power is completely renewable, unlike coal and oil. This means that once the solar panels responsible for the capture and the transformers that will convert the energy are built, the only cost will be occasional maintenance on the panels.
Decentralisation of power: Solar energy offers the possibility of decentralisation of power plants and grids. Oil, gas and coal can only be produced in certain areas and need to be transported cross-country or internationally. This transport costs millions of dollars, pollutes the environment and creates wear and tear on roads. This all can be avoid with solar power, as you are able to install these panels on your home or office roof and walls.
Solar power is at the forefront of renewable energy and the future of energy production. So start moving towards a greener future by using solar powered panels on your homes and offices.