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How solar energy works ?

Solar energy technologies use the energy that comes from the sun. Inside the sun, hydrogen atoms combine to make helium, and the process produces the extreme amount of heat that is felt on Earth. The core of the sun has a temperature of 36,000,000 °F (20,000,000 _ C). The surface of the sun, called the photosphere, has a temperature of 10,000 _ F (5,538 _ C). The energy that the sun creates has to travel 93,000,000 miles (150,000,000 kilometers) to reach the surface of Earth.

People on Earth do not feel the full force of the sun, because Earth's upper atmosphere blocks out much of the sun's thermal power. This power, sometimes called radiation, is spread out when it hits the water vapor, molecules of gas, and clouds that surround Earth. The sunlight that does reach the ground is called direct radiation or beam radiation. If the sunlight hits something before reaching the ground, it is called diffuse radiation.

The amount of solar radiation that reaches the surface of Earth is more than ten thousand times the amount of energy used by the world already. A significant amount of the sun's radiant energy, about 69 percent, is reflected back into space by such things as clouds, ice found on the ice caps, land, and bodies of water. Of the energy that is absorbed by Earth, about 70 percent of the absorption is done by the oceans. Solar energy helps keep the oceans from freezing and pushes their currents. It also prevents Earth's atmosphere from freezing.

Current solar technology

Solar technologies can be divided into passive systems or active systems. Passive solar energy projects only employ the sunlight; no other forms of energy are used. Active solar energy systems employ additional mechanisms such as pumps, blowers, or generators to apply or add to the solar energy created. Active systems often make electricity or heat. Solar water heating systems can be either active or passive.

Passive solar systems

Passive solar systems are primarily concerned with the design of buildings, homes, and lighting. Passive solar design focuses on the placement of the home or building and on windows, ventilation, and insulation to cut down on the need for electricity by using the sun. The home or building is designed to maximize the potential of solar energy for heating and cooling. In northern countries such as Canada, where sunshine is not as strong as it is in locations to the south, passive solar heating is one of the easiest forms of solar technology to use.

One important form of passive solar design is known as ''daylighting.'' In daylighting the placement and design of windows is used to encourage natural sunlight to light the inside of a building instead of electric lights. Daylighting helps cut down on lighting costs, and many experts believe that exposure to natural rather than artificial light sources provides health benefits to humans.

Another type of passive solar system is the transpired solar collector. This is a relatively new passive solar technology made of dark perforated metal. Transpired solar collectors are used to heat buildings by heating the air. They can also cool buildings in summertime.

Active solar systems

Active systems include solar collectors (also known as solar panels), which are primarily used on solar hot water heaters; photovoltaic (PV) cells, which make electricity; and concentrated solar power systems (also known as solar thermal systems), which also make electricity but on a larger scale than PV cells.

Solar collectors are used primarily to capture solar energy for use in solar hot water heaters. However, they can also be used to provide heat in a building and even to make the energy to cool a building. While not all solar collectors are used in active solar energy systems, it is more common for solar collectors to be used in an active system than a passive system.

Photovoltaic (PV) cells convert sunlight directly into electricity inside the cell. They are more adaptable than many other types of solar energy technology. In addition to powering satellites, PV cells can be put on buildings to provide electricity for any number of uses.

They do not require direct sun to convert sunlight into electricity. There are at least five types of concentrated solar power systems that focus the sun's power to make electricity on a larger scale than PV cells. They include solar ponds, parabolic trough systems, dish systems and dish-engine systems, solar power towers, and solar furnaces. Mirrors or other reflective devices draw in as much sunlight as possible to these systems. They often track the sun as it moves through the sky in order to capture the most sunlight.

NorthernTool.com

Concentrated solar power systems usually heat water, or another fluid that is connected to a source of water, to make steam. The steam is used to drive turbines that create electricity. Concentrated solar power systems are primarily used for industrial applications and to make electricity for consumers and businesses on a wide scale.

 

¿Cómo trabaja la energía solar?

Las tecnologías de energía solar utilizan la energía que viene del sol. Dentro del sol, los átomos de hidrógeno se combinan para formar helio, y el proceso produce la extrema cantidad de calor que se siente en la tierra. El núcleo del sol tiene una temperatura de 36.000.000 °F (20.000.000 °C). La superficie del sol, llamada la fotosfera, tiene una temperatura de 10,000 °F (5,538 °C). La energía que el sol crea tiene que viajar 93.000.000 millas (150.000.000 kilómetros) para alcanzar la superficie de la Tierra.

La gente en la tierra no siente la fuerza completa del sol, porque la atmósfera superior de la tierra bloquea mucha de la energía térmica del sol. Esta energía, a veces llamada radiación, se dispersa cuando choca el vapor de agua, las moléculas de gas, y las nubes que rodean la Tierra. La luz del sol que alcanza la tierra se llama radiación directa o radiación de haz luminoso. Si la luz del sol choca algo antes de alcanzar la tierra, ésta se llama radiación difusa.

La cantidad de radiación solar que alcanza la superficie de la Tierra es más de diez mil veces la cantidad de energía que el mundo ya utilizó. Una cantidad significativa de la energía radiante del sol, el cerca de 69 por ciento, es reflejada nuevamente hacia de espacio por cosas tales como las nubes, hielo encontrado en los casquetes glaciares, tierra, y las aguas de superficie. De la energía que es absorbida por la Tierra, cerca del 70 por ciento de la absorción es hecha por los océanos. La energía solar ayuda a evitar que los océanos se congelen y empuja sus corrientes. También evita que la atmósfera de la Tierra se congele.

Tecnología solar actual

Las tecnologías solares se pueden dividir en sistemas pasivos o sistemas activos. Los proyectos de energía solar pasivos emplean solamente la luz del sol; no se utiliza ningunas otras formas de energía. Los sistemas de energía solar activos emplean mecanismos adicionales tales como bombas, sopladores, o generadores para aplicar o para agregarse a la energía solar creada. Los sistemas activos con frecuencia generan electricidad o calor. Los sistemas solares para calefacción de agua pueden ser tanto activos como pasivos.

Sistemas solares pasivos

Los sistemas solares pasivos se refieren básicamente al diseño de edificios, de hogares, y de iluminación. El diseño solar pasivo se centra en la ubicación del hogar o del edificio y en ventanas, la ventilación, y la aislación para reducir la necesidad de electricidad usando el sol. El hogar o el edificio se diseñan para maximizar el potencial de la energía solar para la calefacción y refrigeración. En países del norte tales como Canadá, donde la luz solar no es tan fuerte como lo es en localidades al sur, la calefacción solar pasiva es una de las formas más fáciles de tecnología solar a utilizar.

Una forma importante de diseño solar pasivo se conoce como "luz de día". En la "luz del día" la colocación y el diseño de ventanas se utilizan para propiciar que la luz del sol natural ilumine el interior de un edificio en vez de luces eléctricas. La "luz del día" ayuda en la reducción del costo de la iluminación, y muchos expertos creen que la exposición a fuentes de luz naturales en lugar de artificiales proporciona beneficios a la salud de los seres humanos.

Otro tipo de sistema solar pasivo es el colector solar transpirado. Esta es una relativamente nueva tecnología solar pasiva hecha de metal perforado oscuro. Los colectores solares transpirados son utilizados para calentar edificios calentando el aire. Pueden también refrescar edificios en verano.

Sistemas solares activos

Los sistemas activos incluyen los colectores solares (también conocidos como paneles solares), que se utilizan sobre todo en los calentadores de agua caliente solares; células fotovoltaicas (PV), que hacen electricidad; y sistemas eléctricos solares concentrados (también conocidos como sistemas térmicos solares), que también hacen electricidad pero en una escala más grande que las células PV.

Los colectores solares se utilizan sobre todo para capturar la energía solar para el uso en calentadores de agua caliente solares. Sin embargo, pueden también ser utilizados para proporcionar calor en un edificio e incluso para generar la energía para refrescar un edificio. Mientras que no todos los colectores solares se utilizan en sistemas de energía solar activos, es más común que los colectores solares sean utilizados en un sistema activo que en un sistema pasivo.

Las células fotovoltaicas (PV) convierten la luz del sol directamente en electricidad dentro de la célula. Son más adaptables que muchos otros tipos de tecnología de energía solar. Además de impulsar satélites, las células fotovoltaicas se pueden poner en edificios para proporcionar electricidad para cualquier número de aplicaciones.

No requieren sol directo para convertir la luz del sol en electricidad. Hay por lo menos cinco tipos de sistemas eléctricos solares concentrados que enfocan la energía del sol para hacer electricidad en una escala más grande que las células fotovoltaicas. Incluyen los estanques solares, los sistemas concentradores cilíndrico- parabólicos, los sistemas de plato y los sistemas de plato-motor, las torres de energía solar, y los hornos solares. Los espejos u otros dispositivos reflectivos captan tanta luz del sol como sea posible para estos sistemas. Siguen a menudo el sol mientras que se mueve a través del cielo para capturar la mayoría de la luz del sol.

Los sistemas eléctricos solares concentrados generalmente calientan el agua, u otro líquido que esté conectado con una fuente de agua, para hacer el vapor. El vapor se utiliza para impulsar las turbinas que crean electricidad. Los sistemas eléctricos solares concentrados se utilizan sobre todo para usos industriales y para generar electricidad para los consumidores y negocios a gran escala.

 

 

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Metra Wire Harness Adapter (into Car) - 70-9400

Metra Wire Harness Adapter (into Car) - 70-9400

Land Rover amp integration harness. Most Radio Components products are available for in-store pickup from Advance Auto Parts. [Read more]

Brand: Metra

Metra Wire Harness Adapter (into Car) - 70-9221

Metra Wire Harness Adapter (into Car) - 70-9221

Volvo. Plugs into car harness at radio (power/4-speaker). Most Radio Components products are available for in-store pickup from Advance Auto Parts. [Read more]

Brand: Metra

Metra Wire Harness Adapter (into Car) - 70-8590

Metra Wire Harness Adapter (into Car) - 70-8590

BMW. Plugs into car harness at radio (power/4-speaker). Most Radio Components products are available for in-store pickup from Advance Auto Parts. [Read more]

Brand: Metra

Metra Wire Harness Adapter (into Car) - 70-1119

Metra Wire Harness Adapter (into Car) - 70-1119

Volvo. Plugs into car harness at radio (power/4-speaker). Most Radio Components products are available for in-store pickup from Advance Auto Parts. [Read more]

Brand: Metra

Metra Wire Harness Adapter (into Car) - 70-7301

Metra Wire Harness Adapter (into Car) - 70-7301

Hyundai and Kia. Plugs into car harness at radio (power/4-speaker). Most Radio Components products are available for in-store pickup from Advance Auto Parts. [Read more]

Brand: Metra

Metra Wire Harness Adapter (into Car) - 70-1398

Metra Wire Harness Adapter (into Car) - 70-1398

Toyota/Daihatsu. Plugs into car harness at radio (power/4-speaker). Most Radio Components products are available for in-store pickup from Advance Auto Parts. [Read more]

Brand: Metra

Metra Wire Harness Adapter (into Car) - CF-WHFD4

Metra Wire Harness Adapter (into Car) - CF-WHFD4

Ford/Lincoln/Mercury. Plugs into car harnessProduct Features: Plugs into car harness at radioPower/4 speaker24-pin plug. Most Radio Components products are available for in-store pickup from Advance Auto Parts. [Read more]

Brand: Metra

Metra Wire Harness Adapter (into Car) - 70-1692

Metra Wire Harness Adapter (into Car) - 70-1692

Universal import lead. Plugs into car harness at radio (power/4-speaker). Most Radio Components products are available for in-store pickup from Advance Auto Parts. [Read more]

Brand: Metra

Metra Wire Harness Adapter (into Car) - 70-5514

Metra Wire Harness Adapter (into Car) - 70-5514

Ford Premium sound system amplifier Eliminator harness. Plugs into car harness (power and pre-amp) Plugs into amplifier harness and into speaker inputs. Most Radio Components products are available for in-store pickup from Advance Auto Parts. [Read more]

Brand: Metra

Metra Wire Harness Adapter (into Car) - 70-1002

Metra Wire Harness Adapter (into Car) - 70-1002

Jeep/Eagle. Plugs into car harness at radio (power/4-speaker). Most Radio Components products are available for in-store pickup from Advance Auto Parts. [Read more]

Brand: Metra

Metra Wire Harness Adapter (into Car) - 70-1720T

Metra Wire Harness Adapter (into Car) - 70-1720T

MPN #70-1720T. Metra Wire Harness Adapter (into Car). Most Radio Components products are available for in-store pickup from Advance Auto Parts. [Read more]

Brand: Metra

Metra Into Car Wire Harness - CF-WHCR

Metra Into Car Wire Harness - CF-WHCR

General Motors 88-05. 21 pin. Plugs into car harness at radio. Product Features: Plugs into car harness at radioProvides power and 4-speaker inputs21 pin. Most Radio Components products are available for in-store pickup from Advance Auto Parts. [Read more]

Brand: Metra

Metra Into Car Wire Harness - CF-WHGM2

Metra Into Car Wire Harness - CF-WHGM2

General Motors 88-05. 21 pin. Plugs into car harness at radio. Product Features:21-pin harnessPlugs into car harness at radio. Most Radio Components products are available for in-store pickup from Advance Auto Parts. [Read more]

Brand: Metra

Metra Into Car Wire Harness - CF-WHFD3

Metra Into Car Wire Harness - CF-WHFD3

Ford/Lincoln/Mercury/Mazda 85-04. Plugs into car harness at radio. Power/4-speaker. Product Features: Plugs into car harness at radioProvides power and 4-speaker inputs. Most Radio Components products are available for in-store pickup from Advance Auto Parts. [Read more]

Brand: Metra

Metra Into Car Wire Harness - CF-WHGM1

Metra Into Car Wire Harness - CF-WHGM1

General Motors 73-93. 12 pin. Plugs into car harness at radio. Power/4-speaker. Product Features: Plugs into car harness at radioProvides power and 4-speaker inputs12-pin harness. Most Radio Components products are available for in-store pickup from Advance Auto Parts. [Read more]

Brand: Metra

Metra Into Car Wire Harness - CF-WHTY2

Metra Into Car Wire Harness - CF-WHTY2

Toyota/Scion 87-08. Plugs into car harness at radio. Power/4-speaker. Product Features: Plugs into car harness at radioProvides power and 4-speaker inputs. Most Radio Components products are available for in-store pickup from Advance Auto Parts. [Read more]

Brand: Metra

Metra Into Car Wire Harness - CF-WHHD

Metra Into Car Wire Harness - CF-WHHD

Honda/Acura 86-98. Plugs into car harness at radio. Power/4-speaker. Product Features: Plugs into car harness at radioProvides power and 4-speaker inputs. Most Radio Components products are available for in-store pickup from Advance Auto Parts. [Read more]

Brand: Metra

Metra Into Car Wire Harness - CF-WHFD2

Metra Into Car Wire Harness - CF-WHFD2

Ford/Lincoln/Mercury/Mazda 85-04. Plugs into car harness at radio. Power/4-Speaker. Product Features: Plugs into car harness at radioProvides power and 4-speaker inputs. Most Radio Components products are available for in-store pickup from Advance Auto Parts. [Read more]

Brand: Metra

Metra Wire Harness Adapter (into Car) - 70-8901

Metra Wire Harness Adapter (into Car) - 70-8901

Subaru. Plugs into car harness at radio (power/4-speaker). Most Radio Components products are available for in-store pickup from Advance Auto Parts. [Read more]

Brand: Metra

6 Meter Flexible Car Decorative Neon Light 4mm EL Wire Rope with Car Light Inverter, Blue

6 Meter Flexible Car Decorative Neon Light 4mm EL Wire Rope with Car Light Inverter, Blue

Type: Installation Tools [Read more]

Brand: OEM

3 Meter Flexible Car Decorative Neon Light 4mm EL Wire Rope with Car Light Inverter, Blue

3 Meter Flexible Car Decorative Neon Light 4mm EL Wire Rope with Car Light Inverter, Blue

Type: Installation Tools [Read more]

Brand: OEM

3 Meter Flexible Car Decorative Neon Light 4mm EL Wire Rope with Car Light Inverter, White

3 Meter Flexible Car Decorative Neon Light 4mm EL Wire Rope with Car Light Inverter, White

Type: Installation Tools [Read more]

Brand: OEM

3 Meter Flexible Car Decorative Neon Light 2.3mm EL Wire Rope with Car Light Inverter, Red

3 Meter Flexible Car Decorative Neon Light 2.3mm EL Wire Rope with Car Light Inverter, Red

Type: Installation Tools [Read more]

Brand: OEM

6 Meter Flexible Car Decorative Neon Light 4mm EL Wire Rope with Car Light Inverter, Pink

6 Meter Flexible Car Decorative Neon Light 4mm EL Wire Rope with Car Light Inverter, Pink

Type: Installation Tools [Read more]

Brand: OEM

3 Meter Flexible Car Decorative Neon Light 4mm EL Wire Rope with Car Light Inverter, Green

3 Meter Flexible Car Decorative Neon Light 4mm EL Wire Rope with Car Light Inverter, Green

Type: Installation Tools [Read more]

Brand: OEM

6 Meter Flexible Car Decorative Neon Light 2.3mm EL Wire Rope with Car Light Inverter, Purple

6 Meter Flexible Car Decorative Neon Light 2.3mm EL Wire Rope with Car Light Inverter, Purple

Type: Installation Tools [Read more]

Brand: OEM

6 Meter Flexible Car Decorative Neon Light 2.3mm EL Wire Rope with Car Light Inverter, Pink

6 Meter Flexible Car Decorative Neon Light 2.3mm EL Wire Rope with Car Light Inverter, Pink

Type: Installation Tools [Read more]

Brand: OEM

1 Meter Flexible Car Decorative Neon Light 4mm EL Wire Rope with Car Light Inverter, Pink

1 Meter Flexible Car Decorative Neon Light 4mm EL Wire Rope with Car Light Inverter, Pink

Type: Installation Tools [Read more]

Brand: OEM

1 Meter Flexible Car Decorative Neon Light 4mm EL Wire Rope with Car Light Inverter, Yellow

1 Meter Flexible Car Decorative Neon Light 4mm EL Wire Rope with Car Light Inverter, Yellow

Type: Installation Tools [Read more]

Brand: OEM

1 Meter Flexible Car Decorative Neon Light 4mm EL Wire Rope with Car Light Inverter, Red

1 Meter Flexible Car Decorative Neon Light 4mm EL Wire Rope with Car Light Inverter, Red

Type: Installation Tools [Read more]

Brand: OEM

1 Meter Flexible Car Decorative Neon Light 4mm EL Wire Rope with Car Light Inverter, Purple

1 Meter Flexible Car Decorative Neon Light 4mm EL Wire Rope with Car Light Inverter, Purple

Type: Installation Tools [Read more]

Brand: OEM

1 Meter Flexible Car Decorative Neon Light 2.3mm EL Wire Rope with Car Light Inverter, Green

1 Meter Flexible Car Decorative Neon Light 2.3mm EL Wire Rope with Car Light Inverter, Green

Type: Installation Tools [Read more]

Brand: OEM

6 Meter Flexible Car Decorative Neon Light 2.3mm EL Wire Rope with Car Light Inverter, Red

6 Meter Flexible Car Decorative Neon Light 2.3mm EL Wire Rope with Car Light Inverter, Red

Type: Installation Tools [Read more]

Brand: OEM

6 Meter Flexible Car Decorative Neon Light 4mm EL Wire Rope with Car Light Inverter, Yellow

6 Meter Flexible Car Decorative Neon Light 4mm EL Wire Rope with Car Light Inverter, Yellow

Type: Installation Tools [Read more]

Brand: OEM

1 Meter Flexible Car Decorative Neon Light 2.3mm EL Wire Rope with Car Light Inverter, Orange

1 Meter Flexible Car Decorative Neon Light 2.3mm EL Wire Rope with Car Light Inverter, Orange

Type: Installation Tools [Read more]

Brand: OEM

3 Meter Flexible Car Decorative Neon Light 2.3mm EL Wire Rope with Car Light Inverter, Pink

3 Meter Flexible Car Decorative Neon Light 2.3mm EL Wire Rope with Car Light Inverter, Pink

Type: Installation Tools [Read more]

Brand: OEM

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Emerging solar technologies

There are several technologies being developed that bypass mirrors and collectors to capture the sun. Solar paints contain conductive polymers, extremely small semiconducting wires, or quantum dots. Such paints could be used to coat any surface and turn it into an electrical generator. Other companies are working on similar technologies for plastics. Rolls of plastic are coated with an electricity-generating film. The plastic could be spread over roofs or other surfaces to convert sunlight into electricity.

The use of solar energy to cool homes and buildings is another area under more development. Such systems use solar panels to produce electricity. These panels power a pump connected to an absorber machine. This machine works something like a refrigerator.

The absorber employs hot air to compress a gas. When this gas expands, it causes a reaction that cools the air. Solar thermal coolers are expected to reach the commercial market in the early twenty-first century.

Many new solar technologies are still in the experimental stage. One possibility is solar-powered air flights. Another is a different kind of solar lighting, in which a building's interior is lit by a parabolic collector on the roof. This collector is connected to the interior by fiber optic light pipes. Such a system would make its own electricity to power the lights.

Benefits and drawbacks to solar energy

One of the primary benefits to solar energy is that it is a renewable resource. Sunshine is available everywhere free. There is no limit to its renewability, at least not until the sun burns itself out billions of years from now. Solar energy also does not contribute to pollution and thus is considered a ''clean'' energy source. Using it produces no greenhouse gases and thus does not contribute to global warming.

The biggest drawback to using solar energy is the cost of the technology. Solar photovoltaic cells and solar collectors are still very expensive. While the technology may become cheaper over time, it is still costly when compared to the amount of energy it will produce over its use cycle. Similarly, it is very expensive to build solar power towers and furnaces. Using such technology to generate power on a wide scale is too expensive to be used realistically, at least as of the early twenty-first century.

Another major problem with solar technology is that solar energy is not available on demand in every location on Earth.

Heavy cloud cover can limit the use of some solar energy systems. Some systems cannot be used at all if direct sunlight is not available. In most areas of the world, only low-power solar energy applications can be used because of the lack of direct sunlight.

For large-scale projects such as solar power towers and solar furnaces, or even smaller-scale projects such as solar ponds, dish systems, and trough systems, large areas of land are needed. In the desert, where a number of these systems are currently located, the solar technology that is put there to capture the intense sunshine is considered unsightly by some people.

Environmental impact of solar energy

Solar energy can have both positive and negative effects on the environment. On the positive side, most solar technologies are environmentally friendly. They do not pollute the atmosphere by emitting (giving off) greenhouse gases, they do not produce radioactive waste like nuclear energy reactors, and they do not contribute to global warming or acid rain. Most solar energy systems are silent or quiet when they operate, which cuts down on noise pollution. If solar technologies that make electricity on a significant scale can be adopted, many countries can lessen their dependence on electricity produced by fossil fuels. This change could decrease the amount of environmental pollution in the world.

However, solar energy technologies are not perfect. In addition to large-scale projects negatively affecting the landscape, these solar technologies can negatively affect the animal life around them. Big dish systems, trough systems, and power towers take up land that animals live on and affect their habitats. The very building of these projects can pollute otherwise pristine (clean) lands, even if the solar technology itself does not. Also, while the use of solar technology does not pollute the environment, the manufacture of certain types of solar technology can.

Tecnologías solares emergentes

Hay varias tecnologías que están siendo desarrolladas que no recurren a los espejos y los colectores para capturar el sol. Las pinturas solares contienen polímeros conductores, los alambres semiconductores extremadamente pequeños, o los puntos de quántum. Tales pinturas se podrían utilizar para cubrir cualquier superficie y transformarla en un generador eléctrico. Otras compañías están trabajando en tecnologías similares para los plásticos. Rollos de plástico son cubiertos con una película generadora de electricidad. El plástico podría ser extendido por azoteas u otras superficies para convertir luz del sol en electricidad.

El uso de la energía solar para refrigerar hogares y edificios es también otra área en desarrollo. Tales sistemas utilizan paneles solares para producir electricidad. Los estos paneles accionan una bomba conectada con una máquina de absorción. Esta máquina funciona un poco como un refrigerador.

El producto absorbente emplea el aire caliente para comprimir un gas. Cuando este gas se expande, causa una reacción que refresca el aire. Se espera que los refrigeradores térmicos solares alcancen el mercado comercial éste siglo.

Muchas tecnologías solares nuevas todavía están en la etapa experimental. Una posibilidad es de vuelos aéreos con impulsión solar. Otra es una variante de iluminación solar, en la cual el interior de un edificio es iluminado por un colector parabólico en la azotea. Este colector es conectado con el interior por cañerías de fibra óptica ligeras. Tal sistema crearía su propia electricidad para encender las luces.

Ventajas y desventajas a la energía solar

Una de las ventajas primarias a la energía solar es que es un recurso renovable. La luz del sol está disponible por todas partes libremente. No hay límite a su renovabilidad, por lo menos hasta que el sol se apague en unos mil millones de años de ahora en adelante. La energía solar tampoco contribuye a la contaminación y así se la considera una fuente de energía "limpia". Su uso no produce ningún gas de efecto invernadero y no contribuye así al calentamiento del planeta.

La desventaja más grande de usar energía solar es el coste de la tecnología. Las células fotovoltaicas solares y los colectores solares siguen siendo muy costosos. Mientras que la tecnología pueda llegar a ser más barata en un cierto plazo, es todavía costosa al ser comparada con la cantidad de energía que se produciría sobre su ciclo del uso. Similarmente, es muy costoso construir torres y hornos de energía solar. El uso de tal tecnología para generar energía a gran escala es demasiado costosa para ser utilizada en forma realista, por lo menos hasta la fecha en éste siglo.

Otro problema grave con tecnología solar es que la energía solar no está disponible a pedido en cada localización en la tierra.

Una gruesa cubierta de nubes puede limitar el uso de algunos sistemas de energía solar. Algunos sistemas no se pueden utilizar en absoluto si la luz del sol directa no está disponible. En la mayoría de las áreas del mundo, solamente los usos de energía solar de baja potencia se pueden utilizar debido a la carencia de la luz del sol directa.

Para los proyectos en gran escala tales como torres de energía solar y hornos solares, o aún en proyectos menor escala tales como estanques solares, sistemas de plato, y sistemas concentradores solares, áreas extensas de tierra son necesarias. En el desierto, en donde un número apreciable de estos sistemas se localizan actualmente, la tecnología solar que se instala allí para capturar la luz de sol intensa es considerada antiestética por alguna gente.

Consecuencias para el medio ambiente de la energía solar

La energía solar puede tener efectos positivos y negativos sobre el medio ambiente. En el lado positivo, la mayoría de las tecnologías solares son respetuosas del medio ambiente. No contaminan la atmósfera emitiendo los gases de efecto invernadero, no producen desechos radioactivos como los reactores de energía nuclear, y no contribuyen al calentamiento del planeta o a la lluvia ácida. La mayoría de los sistemas de energía solar son silenciosos o estables cuando funcionan, lo que reduce la contaminación por ruido. Si las tecnologías solares que generan electricidad en una escala significativa pueden ser adoptadas, muchos países podrían disminuir su dependencia de la electricidad producida por los combustibles fósiles. Este cambio podría disminuir la cantidad de contaminación ambiental en el mundo.

Sin embargo, las tecnologías de energía solar no son perfectas. Además de los proyectos en gran escala que afectan negativamente al paisaje, estas tecnologías solares pueden afectar negativamente a la vida animal alrededor de ellos. Los sistemas grandes de plato, los sistemas concentradores convexos, y las torres de energía ocupan la tierra en donde los animales viven y afectan a su hábitat. La construcción misma de estos proyectos puede contaminar tierras de otra manera prístinas (limpias), incluso si no lo hace la tecnología solar por sí misma. También, mientras que el uso de la tecnología solar no contamina el ambiente, la fabricación de ciertos tipos de tecnología solar lo puede hacer.

 

 

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