Solar Energy

The sun has been providing heat and light for billions of years and it is expected that it will continue to do so for billions of years to come. All plants get their energy from the sun and all animals get their energy mainly from the plants. Therefore, the sun is a source of energy for animals.

The sun is the ultimate source of energy for all living beings. Apart from nuclear energy, all other forms of energy result from solar energy. The fossil fuels, bio-fuels and natural gas are in effect "bottled" solar energy. The wind and rivers which provide renewable energy are also the result of solar energy.

Sun is one of the most powerful renewable sources of energy for the future. As long as the sun exists, we will continue to get its energy. About 30% of the incoming solar radiation is absorbed by the upper atmospheres, the rest is absorbed by the land, sea and clouds.

Solar energy is used commonly for heating, cooking, production of electricity, and even in the desalination of seawater. With the help of solar cells, solar energy is converted into electricity. One of the most common uses of the sun’s energy has been for water heating systems. It is also used to provide power to the vehicles, generate electricity, lighting streets, cooking.

On a small scale, solar energy is being used to heat up water for daily use in homes and also the swimming pools. On a larger scale, solar energy could be used to run cars, power plants, and space ships.

Advantages of Solar Energy

We have been using the light and heat of the sun's rays since ancient times for different purposes. Some of the advantages of using solar energy are:

  • Use of solar energy causes no environmental pollution, because no chemical waste or toxic gases get released while using solar energy.
  • Solar energy can be used for practical purposes such as heating and lighting.
  • The sun is an ever lasting source of energy which is freely available.
  • It can be converted into electrical energy and put to many uses.

Limitations of Solar Energy

No doubt, the sun is the source of all the energies in one way or another, but using the sun as a source of energy also has certain limitations.

  • Firstly, solar power plants can not produce energy if the sun is not shining. For example during night time and cloudy days it is not possible to produce energy from the sun.
  • Secondly, establishment of solar power stations can be very expensive.
  • Thirdly, the solar panels need to be regularly maintained and cleaned to continue generating electricity.