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1. A Solar energy source (RES).
Renewable sources are non-fossil energy sources that are replenished by nature; Green energy sources have many benefits and advantages over other conventional energy sources as they are considered to be sustainable and environmentally friendly.
2. Environmentally sustainable.
Using environmentally sustainable energy sources means considering and taking care of the environmental burden we impose on the planet; thus reducing CO2 and other harmful gasses emissions into the atmosphere and combating global warming and greenhouse effects. By using alternative RES we contribute against depletion of the natural resources.
3. Free and abundant.
Solar power is sustainable, abundant and free! Being continually replenished by environment it is an energy source that can not be used up. Solar power potential is amazingly huge! “… Assuming 100 % absorption of solar radiation, it would only require 88 minutes of solar radiation to cover for humanity’s total energy consumption for a year! “- ref. solar energy potential.
4. Available energy source.
Aside from being abundant and free by nature, solar energy is also available worldwide. Although the areas zone closest to the equator have the highest solar radiance, however, other zones being further north and south from the equator can also exploit solar energy; a good example of this is Germany which has managed to explore successfully its solar energy even at an altitude of 51 deg. Consequently, Solar energy is available anywhere the sun shines; its quality, however, varies according to location and climatic conditions.
5. Available when needed most.
Solar power, as an energy source, usually has the advantage of being available when it is needed most; as an example, in hot summer days where electrical energy demand reaches its peak for space cooling, so is solar energy supply of the summer sun.
6. Towards Green power.
The huge potential of solar energy may hold the key to gradually disengaging fossil fuels from power generation; thus penetrate more into green power and sustainable development.
7. Reliability of energy source.
Generally, renewable energy sources are basically unpredictable, consequently unreliable, because of climatic behavior (weather is unpredictable– see solar energy cons); however, solar energy exhibits relatively high reliability subject to location specific historical data and technology configuration used (e.g. with energy storage). Using Solar energy is of course less reliable than using any fossil fuel (oil or gas) but much more reliable than wind energy.
8. Widely used.
Solar Energy is used in a wide area of applications by utilizing different technologies. In search of ways to combat our environmental challenges, the vast potential of solar power has been a main driver for the global economy, technological advancement and eventually hope for a sustainable future. That is why solar power is used in a wide range of applications that is continually growing; these include the construction industry on buildings (solar panels for home, solar water heaters, passive solar), for generation of power, integration with other technologies such as solar lighting, powering electrical devices and equipment (power boat, solar plane, solar cars etc.) and using it in our everyday lives for cooking– solar cooking.
Solar Energy Cons.
1. Only in daytime.
As it is easily understood, solar energy is only available during the day and as long as the sun is shining.
2. Unpredictable weather.
As for all natural solar energy sources, their supply is as predictable as the weather on the location of the site. Climatic variations are highly unpredictable and intermittent, influencing greatly the direct use of all renewable sources.
3. Expensive technology.
Although solar energy is freely available by nature, to gather it and us it we need expensive technology (solar energy systems). In general, using solar energy in place of conventional energy sources will cost more money; it is thus economically not viable. To compensate for this ‘financial obstacle, solar energy has been a main target of financial incentives promoting environmental solutions.