With 'going green' being such a pressing concern among businesses, politicians and activists at the moment, we currently hear a lot about solar energy and about its benefits. The sun provides a renewable and almost limitless source of energy that is freely available to everyone, and as we can harness that energy why aren't we already using that to end our reliance on fossil fuels?
There's a lot of talk about solar energy indeed, but how much do you really know about it? Because you might just find that it's actually quite incredible. Read on for some truly amazing facts about this huge source of power in the sky…
There Are Two Kinds of Solar Energy
First, did you know that there are actually two kinds of solar energy? These are called 'solar thermal' and 'solar voltaic' and they refer to the heat that comes off of the sun and the light respectively. Solar panels can be used to help us get power from both kinds of energy - solar thermal panels work by 'sunning' tiny tubes of water and can be used to heat small pools and rooms, while solar voltaic work by using light to 'excite' electrons that are arranged in a certain manner. The solar panels that you would have encountered on calculators or are maybe thinking of installing on your roof are the latter kind and this is what most research is really interested in.
Solar Power is Not 100% Clean
There are disputes as to whether or not there is really such thing as a completely 'clean' source of energy. In order for an energy source to be clean you see, there would have to be zero consequence for the environment when we use it. This just isn't true with solar panels - as they prevent the light from hitting the ground and warming it/giving it light. Enough solar panels and this could even affect air pressure. It's not enough to be a problem, but it's sure interesting to consider.
Most Energy Can be Traced Back to the Sun
In some ways we already rely on solar energy. Why? Because the fossil fuels that we burn for energy are actually created by organic matter that has been compressed over thousands of years. And the reason that they contain energy is that those plants and animals had energy of their own when they died - which they got from either photosynthesis or eating things that used photosynthesis.
You Give Off Solar Energy
You may not know this, but right now you are actually giving off an incredibly small amount of light. Not enough to be detectable by the human eye, but nevertheless a very tiny amount that is measurable with the right equipment.
Solar Energy Is Infinite:
Of course the sun is not infinite - it will eventually collapse into a blackhole and destroy the galaxy it once gave life to. But the light from our sun is infinite and will carry on through space without stopping. Unless it is absorbed, that light will move permanently through the cosmos possibly until the end of the universe itself.
Talk about limitless power!
Gemma Hastings, the author of this post, is a green energy expert and works for www.solarpanelgrants.org. In her spare time, she likes to write articles on saving the environment and the usage of solar energy for a better future.