Alternative Energies

Converting the sun’s radiation directly into electricity is done by solar cells. These cells are made of semiconducting materials similar to those used in computer chips. When sunlight is absorbed by these materials, the solar energy knocks electrons loose from their atoms, allowing the electrons to flow through the material to produce electricity. This process of converting light (photons) to electricity (voltage) is called the photovoltaic effect. Photovoltaics (PV) is thus the field of technology and research related to the application of solar cells that convert sunlight directly into electricity.
Solar cells, which were originally developed for space applications in the 1950s, are used in consumer products (such as calculators or watches), mounted on roofs of houses or assembled into large power stations. Today, the majority of photovoltaic modules are used for grid-connected power generation, but a smaller market for off-grid power is growing for remote areas and developing countries.
Given the enormous potential of solar energy, photovoltaics may well become a major source of clean electricity in the future.

Solar energy is not a finite resource as fossil fuels are. While the sun is up there it constantly produces all the energy we can use.
Reduced maintenance costs
While not maintenance-free -- what technology really is? -- once solar panels, wind- or water power facilities are in place, no fuel or lubricants need to be supplied.
Falling production costs
The financial costs of producing appliances such as solar cells and solar hot water panels are falling as technology develops. Comparatively solar energy is competing with fossil fuels as fossil fuel prices have risen steeply globally in the last few years. Solar energy technology is becoming increasingly efficient.
Low running costs
With prices of traditional fuels soaring the cost advantages of solar energy are becoming obvious. After installation of the appliance, solar energy is free.
Local application
Suitable for remote areas that are not connected to energy grids. In some countries solar panels for domestic use in remote areas are becoming sources for local employment in manufacture and installation.
Fossil-fuel poor countries can kick their dependency on this energy and spend their funds on other things through application of solar energy.
Health and safety benefits
In some poorer countries where people have used kerosene and candles for domestic heating and lighting, respiratory diseases and impaired eyesight have resulted. Many people have been burned through accidents involving kerosene heating. Solar energy, especially with excess energy stored for night-time use, overcomes these problems.
Reliability
Among the significant advantages of solar energy is that of reliability. Local application and independence from a centrally controlled power grid and energy transport infrastructure is insurance from upheaval through political and economic turmoil.

 

Wind energy is one of the fastest growing sources of electricity and one of the fastest growing markets in the world today. These growth trends can be linked to the multi-dimensional benefits associated with wind energy.

  • Green Power: The electricity produced from wind power is said to be "clean" because its production produces no pollution or greenhouse gases. As both health and environmental concerns are on the rise, clean energy sources are a growing demand.
  • Sustainable: Wind is a renewable energy resource is inexhaustible and requires no "fuel" besides the wind that blows across the earth. This infinite energy supply is a security that many users view as a stable investment in our energy economy as well as in our children's' future.
  • Affordable: Wind power is a cost-competitive source of electricity, largely due to technological advancements, as well as economies of scale as more of these machines are manufactured and put online around the world.
  • Economic Development: As well as being affordable, wind power is a locally-produced source of electricity that enables communities to keep energy dollars in their economy. Job creation (manufacturing, service, construction, and operation) and tax base increase are other economic development benefits for communities utilizing wind energy.
 

In remote areas and in locations in need to supply water beyond the reach of power lines, then solar power can solve the problem. Photovoltaic powered pumps provide an excellent alternative to fuel-burning engines, windmills, and hand pumps. Thousands of solar pumps are working throughout the world. They produce best during sunny weather, when the need for water is greatest. They can also pump water at night if batteries are installed too.
Solar water pumps are specially designed to work with DC electricity (12 to 96 volt) from photovoltaic modules. The pumps must work during low light conditions, when power is reduced, without stalling or overheating.
Advantages of Solar Water Pumping

  • Reliable and long life
  • Produces water when it’s needed most
  • Low labor and maintenance costs
  • No fuel costs
  • Easy to remove, transport, and store.
  • Non-polluting

 

 

One of the biggest uses of electricity, gas and oil is the heating of water in the home, and in offices, schools and hospitals etc. Solar water heating is a very simple and efficient way to grab energy from the sun and use it. Solar water heaters concentrate diffused solar radiation into thermal energy.
With the price of electricity rising at extraordinary pace the need of solar water heating is greater it is becoming a standard installation in new housing development projects. A good system can lower power bills up to 50%.
Solar water heating also decreases the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions; a standard household will produce an average of 8 Tons of carbon dioxide per year if powered by standard electric water heater.

Advantages of Solar Water Heating
Conventional Water Heaters Use Energy
According to mechanical engineers at the University of Wisconsin’s Solar Energy Laboratory, an average four-person household with an electric water heater needs about 6,400 kilowatt hours of electricity per year to heat their water. Assuming the electricity is generated by a typical power plant with an efficiency of around 30 percent, it means that the average electric water heater is responsible for about eight tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) annually, which is almost double that emitted by a typical modern automobile.
The same family of four using either a natural gas or oil-fired water heater will contribute about two tons of CO2 emissions annually in heating their water.
Conventional Water Heaters Pollute
Surprising as it may seem, analysts believe that the annual total CO2 produced by residential water heaters throughout North America is roughly equal to that produced by all of the cars and light trucks driving around the continent.
Another way of looking at it is: If half of all households used solar water heaters, the reduction in CO2 emissions would be the same as doubling the fuel-efficiency of all cars.

 
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