With the increasing demand for energy across the globe and the numerous activities which demand energy, there is a need for renewable energy. Renewable energy is a great alternative to fossil fuels and is fast becoming an important part of power generation.
WHAT ARE RENEWABLE ENERGY RESOURCES
Renewable energy resources are sources of energy that is continuously replenished through natural processes. These resources are alternatives to fossil fuels which are not renewable.
Coal and oil are examples of fossil fuels that produce energy when they are burned, but they have a very limited supply. But renewable energy sources can be very much replenished and are not limited.
This makes them very suitable because you don’t have to worry about running out of power supply.
Why you should consider Renewable Energy Resources
I could give you several reasons why you should go for renewable energy sources like solar energy however, I will try to be brief.
- Renewable energy resources have a very limited negative impact on the environment compared to fossil fuels.
- They are very much cost-effective, so they are a very good option for homeowners or office owners.
- While non-renewable energy sources are available only in limited amounts, renewable energy sources are unlimited.
- Sun, wind, and water (which are sources of renewable energy) are accessible in almost all the countries of the world, as opposed to non-renewable energy sources which are found majorly in some places.
- With renewable energy resources, you are in major control of the energy in your home.
Types of Renewable Energy Resources
This is the most common type of renewable energy in use. Solar energy has been used by humans to grow crops, stay warm and dry food.
Solar energy comes directly from the sun and supplies us with the full energy needed for survival. It enables us to produce direct energy from sunlight and in turn, convert it to electricity.
This electricity is used to power our homes and businesses. In addition to solar producing electricity, solar power can also be used to charge battery systems and produce hot water.
I could help install the solar power system in your home and help you do away with unnecessary spending on power generation.
Solar energy is also recommended because it does not pollute the environment, as it does not give off fossil fuels. Now you might be wondering how this solar energy is harnessed and put into use. I will make it very clear to you, continue reading!
When you feel the wind, it simply means that you are feeling the movement of air from one place to another. This movement is a result of uneven heating of the earth’s surface. Now this wind can be captured to give off power by making use of large turbines. Turbines generate electricity when they spin.
Just like the way we produce electricity from moving air, electricity can also be generated from moving water. This can be done through the use of turbines. When moving water runs through a turbine, it spins it to produce electricity.
When our planet was formed, the heat was trapped. Also during radioactive decay in the rock that is deep beneath the earth’s crust, heat is also trapped. The heat from these two sources results in a large amount of geothermal heat energy.
Just like wind power, and hydropower, geothermal heat energy is captured by using a turbine. This can be achieved by using steam from heated water to spin a turbine which aids in the generation of electricity.
This is another renewable energy source. This biomass energy can be generated from recently living organic matters like plants and animals. This biomass are referred to as renewable because of how quickly plants can be regrown. And they also grow using renewable energy from the sun.
The Solar Energy
I feel like more has to be said about solar energy because the power system is gradually turning to solar as the best alternative to energy generation. So let’s talk about the solar energy.
How Solar Energy is Harnessed
The sun is a massive nuclear reactor. Deep in the sun’s core, nuclear fusion reactions produce massive amounts of energy that radiate outward from the sun’s surface and into space in the form of light and heat.
Now to harness this , there are two major ways. It can be done either using photovoltaics commonly referred to as PV or by using solar thermal energy.
Application of Solar Energy
By using a photovoltaic solar system, solar panels convert sunlight to electricity directly. This process by which solar panels convert sunlight to electricity is called photovoltaic effect.
Here, incoming sunlight strikes a semiconductor material made of silicon and sets the electrons loose.
This sets them in motion and in turn causes them to generate an electric current that can be captured with the wiring. This current is known as direct current and it has to be converted to alternating current using solar inverter. When this is done, it can now power electrical appliances.
By using solar thermal system, heat is captured directly from solar radiation. This makes it available for use in different ways. The three major ways include:
- Low temperature for heating and cooling
- Mid temperature for heating water
- High temperature for electrical power generation.
Low temperature– this has to do with heating and cooling of air as a means of climate control. This is particularly used in passive solar building designs. Here, the sun’s rays enter a living space to heat a particular area, and in turn blocked when that area needs to be cooled.
Mid temperature– this has to do with a solar hot water heating system. Collectors will be set up on your rooftop to capture heat from the sun. This heat will be transferred to the pipes channeling water to your homes.
In this case, you don’t need to keep depending on water heaters as the heat from the sun will serve as a natural heater.
High temperature– these ones are used to generate electricity for large scales. How this operates is that mirrors are set to focus the rays coming from the sun on tubes containing a liquid that can hold heat energy well.
This heated fluid turns water into steam and can be made to turn a turbine and generate electricity.
HOW TO INSTALL SOLAR PANELS
Solar panels are installed at three main scales.
For residential, there are usually installed in rooftops or in open land. It generally ranges between 5 and 20kilowatts. This is largely dependent on property size.
For commercial, the installation is usually installed at a greater scale than residential. This is because it has more things to power.
For utility-scale solar projects, there are usually large several megawatts installations that provide solar energy to a large number of utility customers.
With all this been said, I recommend you read a step by step process of solar panel installation.
ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF SOLAR ENERGY
With the world energy revolution focusing mainly on renewable energy-solar energy. There is a great need to understand the pros and cons of solar energy, this information is useful for homeowners who have complete home solar power system installed or yet to, researchers and students are not left behind.
We have put together a conclusive list of the pros and cons of solar energy with regards to homeowners’ perspective during the research work. Here is the list of toP pros and cons of solar energy in 2020:
|ADVANTAGES OF SOLAR ENERGY||DISADVANTAGES OF SOLAR ENERGY|
|1. Solar Energy is Renewable||Solar storage is Expensive|
|2. Reduces your Electricity Bills||Solar panel don’t work in some roof|
|3. Improve the value of your home||Solar is Weather Dependent|
|4. Environmental Friendly||Associated with Pollution|
|5. Low Maintenance Cost||Solar panels require Space|
|6. Technological Development|
ADVANTAGES OF SOLAR ENERGY
1. Solar Energy is Renewable
The foremost advantage of solar energy is that it’s a truly renewable energy source-its replenish on its own.
Solar energy as a renewable energy source also means that its abundant, reliable, It can be harnessed in all areas of the world and is available every day.
Solar energy is always available and we can not run out it unlike non-renewable energy sources(fossil fuel, coal, nuclear, etc), though scientists predicted that the sun might die in the next 5 billion years to come.
2. Installing Solar Energy Reduces your Electricity Bills
Going solar will not just reduce your electricity bills, you stand a chance to earn some money as well. As your solar panels will be providing your energy needs, excess power produced by your solar would be sold to the utility grid through net metering.
In many states, adding solar panels to your home can bring in electric bill savings of well over $1,000 per year depending on the size of your solar panels.
But if you are living in Nigeria, you might probably not pay up to half of your annual electricity bill because your monthly NEPA bills will be charged all most half of its initial amount.
3. Improve the value of your Home
Going solar will not only provide you with a constant power supply but it will to a great extent improve the value of your home.
If you’re planning on moving in the near future, you’ll earn back your solar panel investment and then some when you sell your home.
To learn more about the increased resale value of solar homes and find out just how much solar adds to the market value of your property, check out this article on solar and property values.
4. Solar Energy is Environmental Friendly
Going solar is a great option because it will not only provide all your energy needs but it a great way to reduce the environmental damage that non-renewable energies(fossil fuels, coal, nuclear, etc) have cause to our climate.
The pros of solar energy can’t be overemphasized, it reduces our carbon footprints because solar produces clean, silent, and constant energy.
If you can’t afford a complete home solar system, use a solar product it will help create a clean and secure environment for us all.
5. Low Maintenance Cost
The cost of maintaining a solar is usually very low, this is because it doesn’t really have moving parts so the issue of wear and tear is scrapped off. So You only need to keep them relatively clean, so cleaning them a couple of times per year will do the job.
Though a solar invert might need to be changed after 4-8 years, this is because the inverter works continuously every day to convert DC current into AC current for electrical consumption in the house.
The cable and solar storage battery don’t really need much maintenance, just learn how to check the health of your solar battery and nothing more. So, after covering the initial cost of the solar system, you can expect very little spending on maintenance throughout the lifetime of your solar panel (25-30 years).
6. Improvements in Technological Development
The world is changing and improving everyday especially in science and technology so solar energy won’t be an exception. The advancement and innovations in solar energy industry are coming towards improving the efficiency of solar panels to even triple what we have now.
This of course is very much possible through innovation in nanotechnology and quantum physics.
DISADVANTAGES OF SOLAR ENERGY
1. Energy Storage is Expensive
Indeed one of the set-backs in going solar is the cost of installation, inverters, batteries, and so on. Solar storage bank is needed for you to go completely off-grid. But the cost of batteries shouldn’t be much of stress because most of our energy needs come during the day when the sunlight is still shining bright, so you can use solar during the day and drawback to your utility grid at night.
2. Solar Panels Don’t work for every Type of Roof
Although solar panels are installed in the rooftop by connecting a mounting system (also known as “racking”). Certain roofing materials used in older or historical homes, such as slate or cedar tiles, can be difficult for solar installers to work with, this a major hindrance to solar power installation.
Additionally, many homes and apartment buildings have skylights or other rooftop additions like roof decks that can make the solar installation process difficult or costly.
But this isn’t the deadlock to your dream of having constant power supply using solar energy because If your home doesn’t qualify for a rooftop solar installation, you still have options: ground-mount solar panels or buying a share in a community solar garden can get you around this disadvantage of solar energy and you can have the clean, silent and constant power supply you deserve from solar energy.
3. Solar Energy is Weather Dependent
Although solar energy can still be collected during cloudy and rainy days, the efficiency of the solar system drops. Solar panels are dependent on sunlight to effectively gather solar energy. Therefore, a few cloudy, rainy days can have a noticeable effect on the energy system.
You should also take into account that solar energy cannot be collected during the night. On the other hand, if you also require your water heating solution to work at night or during wintertime, thermodynamic panels are an alternative to consider.
4. Solar panels are Associated with Pollution
Environmental pollution is one of the world’s climate problems which we are trying to curb through the use of solar energy. Although solar energy can be associated with pollution, the environmental impact of solar panels is minimal compared to the amount of damage associated with the mining and burning of fossil fuels.
Some solar panels contain harmful pollutants on the process of manufacturing, like sulfur hexafluoride, which is more potent than carbon dioxide. However, the impact of carbon dioxide on the climate is much greater than that of sulfur hexafluoride.
Solar Panels Require Space
Depending on your energy need, a rooftop solar panel with good storage bank can be enough to give you a constant power supply but if you are looking for large solar installations then you will be needing larger space because solar panels have lower power density compared to other non-renewable energy sources (fossil fuels).
Power density can be defined as the amount of power that can be derived from an energy source within a certain area, its measured in watts per square meter (W/m2).
Thus, although you would need a large solar power plant and a small coal plant, the mining of coal destroys acres upon acres of land, whereas the solar power plant does not.
Be wise and choose a solar product today, save the world from the environmental hazards created by non-renewable energy(fossil fuel, coal, and nuclear).
This article explains the definition of renewable energy, solar energy and types of renewable energy. Through a proper research, I have come up with the top pros and cons of solar energy from customers perspective.
This article is suitable for homeowners seeking answers about solar energy, or those yet to install solar energy, researchers on solar projects and students.
Using renewable energy sources in your home can increase the shift towards a clean energy future. Even if you are not yet able to install solar panels (which I still recommend you do), you can use electricity from a clean energy source. Please help us serve you better by putting your suggestions and contributions in the comment box.NAIHCOTECH