Since the dawn of life on Earth, the greatest source of energy known to man has been the sun. Living beings, whether plants, animals, or humans, have always depended light and heat from the sun to sustain their existence. It was only in the past few centuries that we began searching for other sources of energy to keep up with advancements in agriculture, industry, and personal uses.
Fossil fuel, took center stage for centuries, but its negative impact on the environment and society led us to return to the sun to help.
From soil to the sun
Fossil fuels, such as coal, oil, natural gas, and petroleum, contain carbon, so when they burn, they release energy, but they also release greenhouse gases, including nitrogen oxides and carbon dioxide. These emissions have a ghastly impact on the environment and the earth’s atmosphere. They contribute to global warming, smog, and even acid rain. Aside from their disastrous environmental impacts, fossil fuels are a limited source of energy; they require millions of years under heat and pressure to form and will eventually run out. They are also not easily found or extracted and are only available in limited areas around the globe. All these reasons drove the world to search for clean, accessible, and renewable energy sources, such as hydraulic, wind, and solar energy.
Heat, light, and more
Electrical and mechanical energy is the most desired form of energy in today’s world. The ability to harness energy from the sun and convert it into electricity or mechanical energy opened up a world of opportunities and unleashed unlimited possibilities, making the sun a primary source of energy and a fast-growing trend. The two basic needs of all living creatures are light and water, and now the sun can provide both.
One of the most important sources of freshwater on Earth is underground water, as it constitutes 30% of all freshwater on Earth. To make use of such water resources, using solar-powered pumps has enabled us now to pump fresh water up to ground level or above ground containers. Pumping water using solar powered pumps could revolutionize modern agriculture. It could help millions of people in remote, underprivileged areas to have access to clean drinking water and enable them to grow their own food at a low or no cost without any dependence on electricity or poor infrastructures.
Back to our star
The advantages of power generation using solar energy are numerous; the most significant advantages could be:
Solar energy comes from the sun, which means it will never run out; the world will never be short on solar energy. All we need to do is build and use enough panels to harness this energy and convert it. If we do that, we can have a source of power that is truly limitless.
Solar energy is deemed a green or clean energy. This means that, unlike fossil fuels, energy from the sun does not emit dangerous gases or harm the environment. That is why it is a socially responsible decision to use solar energy, or clean energy in general, over other sources of energy that harm the environment and damage the earth’s atmosphere.
Since the sun shines on every part of the world, its energy reaches every person on Earth. Such accessibility guarantees that people, rich or poor, wherever they live, can have access to power, better sustenance, and the possibility of sustainable development free from limitations. Its available to all also means no one can control it or restrict its use to certain people or certain regions of the world at the expense of the rest, making equality and peace a less far-fetched dream.
It is a safe bet to expect the sun to rise every day, which makes solar energy a reliable source of power, with no fear of its vanishing the following day. Also, contrary to popular belief, solar energy can be harnessed on cloudy days as well as sunny days although maybe not in the same quantity.
Although the initial investment in solar panels may be relatively high, the sun is free for all. Using solar energy as an energy source saves you money by cutting your electricity bill, and panels have low-cost maintenance as well.
The scale of generating energy from the sun can be as small as a solar charger for your phone and individual installations for residential or business establishments. It could also be as large as solar power plants generating energy transferred through power grids, powering entire cities. In short, the way to a cleaner and brighter future is paved with sunshine.