A History of Solar Power

Solar Power can be a huge source of energy if it is only put to use

The sun is a source of practically limitless energy, most of it is wasted, but it still provides us with millions of kilowatts of power. It also keeps us warm, and helps to grow all the food we eat. It is pollution free and safe, which is saying a lot in this day and age.

Each and every day, the sun showers the earth with several thousand times the energy that we can use. In fact, with the sun directly overhead, one acre of land receives nearly four thousand horsepower, or the equivalent of enough energy to pull a locomotive. In less than three days, enough energy reaches the Earth to match all the fossil fuels on the Earth.

If this energy could be harnessed, it could solve ALL of our energy needs. So, logically, we should be asking ourselves WHY are we not doing more to tap into this gigantic source of energy? The answer is that, of course, we are using it. We have been from the beginning to grow food, create fossil fuels and as heat. But, we need to be looking for more efficient, non-polluting ways to harness it.

The use of solar power is nothing new. In fact, it has been around for over 100 years. At that time, the solar energy was used to create steam to run the machinery of the time.

About this time, Henri Becquerel discovered the photovoltaic effect, or a way to produce electricity using the sun. But, it was inefficient and remained merely a curiosity for many years.

Over the years, many companies have tried to increase the efficiency of the photovoltaic power, and it is now about 12% efficient. Today, there are two major ways to use solar power. Thermal solar, where the sun is used to heat water or another type of liquid to drive turbines to create electricity; and photovoltaic, where the sun is used directly to produce electricity with no moving parts.

Photovoltaic is one of the most promising renewable forms of energy available today.



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