In just one hour, the Earth receives more energy from the sun than humans use in an entire year. The sun is one of the most plentiful, reliable clean energy resources available, and solar power technology allows us to harness the sun’s potential.
Solar panels convert sunlight into electricity. The technology behind this renewable resource has been developing for decades. Today, solar power is more advanced than ever and the installation costs continue to drop. As solar panels become more affordable and more efficient, they are becoming increasingly popular around the world.
Relying on the sunshine to produce electricity means that solar panels will not generate as much power on cloudy days or when the sun sets at night. Since most people don’t want to spend cold, winter nights without power, scientists continue to develop solutions. Batteries are one of the best ways to store excess solar electricity for later use. The high-tech batteries connect to your solar panel system and feed electricity into your home at any time of day. You can’t go completely off the grid without a battery. Systems of solar panels without a battery will be limited at night or on cloudy days. Most solar panel installations use a lead-acid battery, a lithium-ion battery or a flow battery.
Solar fuel would be an even more effective solution for storing solar energy for on-demand use. Compared to batteries, fuels have a higher energy density. This means that fuels are easier to store and transport. With solar fuel, people would have a clean energy resource available on even the cloudiest days. Solar fuel could provide a power source for current transportation systems. If this resource continues to develop, people could drive their same cars using solar fuel instead of fossil fuels. This would lead to a significant reduction in greenhouse gasses and reduce our carbon footprint.
Solar Industry Advancements
The solar industry is rapidly expanding with new discoveries and new applications. With so much potential, solar technology has helped generate economic growth and create new jobs. Government support has helped promote the solar industry and other renewable energy technologies.
To advance renewable resources and discover more eco-friendly solutions, people are going back to their roots. Scientists draw inspiration from nature. They’re analyzing natural systems and applying the same concepts to clean energy. In one example, researchers are looking closely at photosynthesis. If we can recreate the way plants use sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide to store solar energy, then we can apply that system in our everyday lives.
Funding from government programs and private investors helps programs around the country reach their full potential. The men and women working in these labs are making valuable scientific discoveries every day. With each new contribution, we’re one step closer to sustainability and a more environmentally friendly world.