Do Solar Panels Work On A Rainy Day Essay

What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Solar Energy?

Solar energy is derived from the sun’s radiation. The sun is a powerful energy source, and this energy source can be harnessed by installing solar panels. Did you know that the energy that it provides to the Earth for one hour, could meet the global energy needs for one year? We are able to harness only 0.001 percent of that energy.

There is a reason why solar energy has become a trending topic when talking about renewables. While it has been widely criticised for being expensive or not very efficient, solar energy has now proved to be extremely beneficial - not only for the environment but also financially speaking. Additionally, due to the higher demand, the technology has been improved considerably, turning into a significantly efficient source of clean energy.

If you already in the solar energy mood and are ready to make your investment, we are here to help. We provide you with a free of charge and no obligation service that allows you to request quotes and compare different systems so that you can find the most suitable for you. Simply fill in the form to request offers.

GreenMatch has depicted the key advantages and disadvantages of solar power in the following table:

Advantages of Solar Energy

1. Renewable Energy Source

Among all the benefits of solar panels, the most important thing is that solar energy is a truly renewable energy source. It can be harnessed in all areas of the world and is available every day. We cannot run out of solar energy, unlike some of the other sources of energy. Solar energy will be accessible as long as we have the sun, therefore sunlight will be available to us for at least 5 billion years when according to scientists the sun is going to die.

2. Reduces Electricity Bills

Since you will be meeting some of your energy needs with the electricity your solar system has generated, your energy bills will drop. How much you save on your bill will be dependent on the size of the solar system and your electricity or heat usage. Moreover, not only will you be saving on the electricity bill, but if you generate more electricity than you use, the surplus will be exported back to the grid and you will receive bonus payments for that amount (considering that your solar panel system is connected to the grid). Savings can further grow if you sell excess electricity at high rates during the day and then buy electricity from the grid during the evening when the rates are lower.

3. Diverse Applications

Solar energy can be used for diverse purposes. You can generate electricity (photovoltaics) or heat (solar thermal). Solar energy can be used to produce electricity in areas without access to the energy grid, to distill water in regions with limited clean water supplies and to power satellites in space. Solar energy can also be integrated into the materials used for buildings. Not long ago Sharp introduced transparent solar energy windows.

4. Low Maintenance Costs

Solar energy systems generally don’t require a lot of maintenance. You only need to keep them relatively clean, so cleaning them a couple of times per year will do the job. If in doubt, you can always rely on specialised cleaning companies, which offer this service from around £25-£35. Most reliable solar panel manufacturers give 20-25 years warranty. Also, as there are no moving parts, there is no wear and tear. The inverter is usually the only part that needs to changed after 5-10 years because it is continuously working to convert solar energy into electricity (solar PV) and heat (solar thermal). Apart from the inverter, the cables also need maintenance to ensure your solar power system runs at maximum efficiency. So, after covering the initial cost of the solar system, you can expect very little spending on maintenance and repair work.

5. Technology Development

Technology in the solar power industry is constantly advancing and improvements will intensify in the future. Innovations in quantum physics and nanotechnology can potentially increase the effectiveness of solar panels and double, or even triple, the electrical input of the solar power systems.

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Solar Energy Disadvantages

1. Cost

The initial cost of purchasing a solar system is fairly high. Although the UK government has introduced some schemes for encouraging the adoption of renewable energy sources, for example, the Feed-in Tariff, you still have to cover the upfront costs. This includes paying for solar panels, inverter, batteries, wiring and for the installation. Nevertheless, solar technologies are constantly developing, so it is safe to assume that prices will go down in the future

2. 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.

3. Solar Energy Storage Is Expensive

Solar energy has to be used right away, or it can be stored in large batteries. These batteries, used in off-the-grid solar systems, can be charged during the day so that the energy is used at night. This is a good solution for using solar energy all day long but it is also quite expensive. In most cases, it is smarter to just use solar energy during the day and take energy from the grid during the night (you can only do this if your system is connected to the grid). Luckily our energy demand is usually higher during the day so we can meet most of it with solar energy.

4. Uses a Lot of Space

The more electricity you want to produce, the more solar panels you will need because you want to collect as much sunlight as possible. Solar panels require a lot of space and some roofs are not big enough to fit the number of solar panels that you would like to have. An alternative is to install some of the panels in your yard but they need to have access to sunlight. Anyways, if you don’t have the space for all the panels that you wanted, you can just get a fewer and they will still be satisfying some of your energy needs.

5. Associated with Pollution

Although pollution related to solar energy systems is far less compared to other sources of energy, solar energy can be associated with pollution. Transportation and installation of solar systems have been associated with the emission of greenhouse gases. There are also some toxic materials and hazardous products used during the manufacturing process of solar photovoltaics, which can indirectly affect the environment. Nevertheless, solar energy pollutes far less than the other alternative energy sources.

Are You Ready to go Solar?

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solar energy for kids

Solar energy for kids - look to the future

The creation and use of energy is one of the most important subjects for children to learn.  Renewable energy sources like solar energy are increasingly important because countries economies and security are closely tied to their use of energy.  Kids that learn about solar energy will be in a better position to make the right energy choices when they get older.  Perhaps they might invent a new technology that will help us gain more from our daily bath of solar energy.  Exploring DIY solar projects like building solar robots, solar cars and boats can also bring kids a better understanding of solar energy.  Solar toys are a great way for kids to learn about the science of solar energy

Solar Energy is everywhere

The sun gives off more energy in one second, than people have used from the beginning of time.

It is bigger than anything we can really imagine -- a million planet earths would fit inside it! It takes millions of years for the energy from the center of the sun to reach the sun’s surface. And then just eight minutes for it to travel the 93 million miles to earth.

Without the sun, the earth would be freezing cold

The earth would be minus hundreds of degrees Fahrenheit, almost as cold as space. The sun produces nearly all the heat on the planet. The sun also makes the wind blow and the ocean currents flow. Its heat makes clouds, rain, snow, and all the weather on our planet, too.

Get Zapped With Solar Panels

Solar electricity is created when light from the sun is turned directly into electricity using solar panels on our houses (or businesses and schools). Collecting the sun’s light and turning it into electricity is also called photovoltaics, PV for short. “Photo” means light and “voltaic” means electricity.

Kids, solar panels are all around you

Have you seen those big orange signs along the highway with flashing messages about an exit being closed or a traffic jam ahead? Guess what’s on top of those signs? There are big solar panels up there. Also, little solar panels are used on solar calculators (the panel is usually the little strip across the top). More and more you can see solar panels on the rooftops of people’s houses. You can even see solar panels on cars and boats!

Cars That Run On Sunlight?

Like solar-powered homes, solar cars run on energy from the sun by converting it into electricity. Solar cars use lots of solar panels to gather the sun’s energy and fuel the battery that runs the car's motor.

Solar cars designers look at how spaceships, bicycles, cars, and solar panels are made in order to come up with the best design for a solar car. Solar car designers need to include lots of solar panels, so there is enough energy to power the car. The car should also be really light. Almost all solar cars ever built have been for the purpose of solar car races.

The most popular solar car race is the World Solar Challenge in Australia. Using only the sun’s energy, cars from all over the world race across the continent of Australia!

How About Solar Boats?

A passenger ferry in Sydney Harbour, Australia, called the Solar Sailor, can run on wind, sun, battery, or diesel fuel, or in any combination. It uses special Solar Wing technology to capture sunlight for electricity and for wind power at the same time. The wings move automatically using a computer, tracking the sun for the best solar collection and the wind for the best sail power. If it gets really windy, the wings fold down against the solar boat. Large batteries store electricity generated by the diesel generators and collected by the solar panels. The electricity then powers the electric motors.

Solar Energy Is Cool. Why Isn’t Everybody Using It?

Even though humans have been using the sun’s energy for thousands of years, photovoltaic (solar-electric) technology is still very new, and sometimes it takes time for new things to catch on. And, since solar energy technology has gotten better in the last ten years, some adults don’t realize that it’s become as cool as it has. Even if grownups know it works well and want to try new things, it’s very hard to switch to a new system once you have another system working already.

Americans are Energy Hogs

Of every 100 people on the planet, 6 live in the United States. If everything were fair and equal, we would use as much of the world's energy as we have people--6 percent. Instead, we use between 25 and 30 % of the world's energy! Each of us uses twice as much energy as the average person in England, two and-a-half times as much as the average person in Japan, and 106 times that of the average person in Bangladesh! And using too much energy isn't just bad because we're going to run out of it someday. It's also bad because it produces pollution. Per person, people in the United States produce way more "greenhouse gases" than any other people on the planet.

Wasting Energy to Make Energy

Nine of every ten tons of coal used in the United States are used for electricity generation. Here’s how it works: coal is burned to heat water into steam in an electric power plant, then the steam turns a turbine that drives a generator that produces electricity. During this process, about 2/3 of the energy in the coal is used up to make electricity, or becomes waste heat, and only 1/3 winds up being delivered to users as electricity. There is no energy wasted when using solar energy.

Solar Energy for Kids - fun facts

If all the passenger vehicles in the United States were lined up bumper to bumper, they would reach from the earth to the moon and back! The amount of fuel consumed in these vehicles each year is enough to fill a swimming pool as big as a football field that is 40 miles deep!

An Impossible Dream

Energy efficiency is the amount of useful energy you get from a system. A perfect, energy-efficient machine would change all the energy put in it into useful work—an impossible dream. Converting one form of energy into another form always involves a loss of usable energy.

Your body is like a machine, and the fuel for your machine is food. Food gives you the energy to move, breathe, and think. But your body isn’t very efficient at converting food into useful work. Your body is less than five percent efficient most of the time. The rest of the energy is lost as heat. You can really feel that heat when you exercise!

Don’t Feed the Energy Hog

All of us use energy every day—for transportation, cooking, heating and cooling rooms, manufacturing, lighting, and entertainment. The choices we make about how we use energy - turning machines off when we’re not using them or choosing to buy energy efficient appliances - impact our environment and our lives.

Energy conservation is any behavior that results in the use of less energy. Turning the lights off when you leave the room and recycling aluminum cans are both ways of conserving energy.

Energy efficiency is the use of technology that requires less energy to perform the same function. A compact fluorescent light bulb that uses less energy than an incandescent bulb to produce the same amount of light is an example of energy efficiency. The decision to replace an incandescent light bulb with a compact fluorescent is an example of energy conservation.

I Love Recycling

Recycling means to use something again. Newspapers can be used to make new newspapers. Aluminum cans can be used to make new aluminum cans. Glass jars can be used to make new glass jars. Recycling often saves energy and natural resources through conservation.

It almost always takes less energy to make a product from recycled materials than it does to make it from new materials. Using recycled aluminum scrap to make new aluminum cans, for example, uses 95 percent less energy than making aluminum cans from bauxite ore, the raw material used to make aluminum.

Natural resources are riches provided courtesy of Mother Nature. Natural resources include land, plants, minerals, and water. By using materials more than once, we conserve natural resources. In the case of paper, recycling saves trees and water. Making a ton of paper from recycled stock saves up to 17 trees and uses 50 percent less water.

Really Smart Appliances

The coffee maker in your home can be programmed to turn itself on each morning. Your family doesn’t have to turn the car around and go back home to check the iron when you are half way to the beach. The iron will shut itself off. Pretty smart, you think. Well, appliances are about to get even smarter. The next step will be to have appliances in the home communicate with one another.

Italy’s Merloni Elettrodomestici will soon introduce a line of digital appliances--a refrigerator, dishwasher, and washing machine--that communicate with each other through standard electrical wiring. Each machine will monitor total power consumption in the home and cut consumption if it senses a potential circuit overload. The machines can be programmed so that their heavy energy use takes place at off-peak hours. These appliances will even be able to monitor their own status and notify a repair center via the Internet if problems develop.

Do Energy-Sucking Vampires Lurk In Your House?

You might think that vampires only come out at night or during Halloween. Well, guess what? They are everywhere, all of the time, working 24 hours a day, using energy at your house; and they are adding some 20 percent each month to the amount your family pays for energy.

Vampire energy is a type of energy used by things that consume electricity twenty-four hours a day, even when they are turned off or not being used. TVs, VCRs, DVD players, computers/printers, stereos, microwaves, coffee machines, washers/dryers, rechargeable power tools, etc. are the everyday secret users of vampire energy. You think you have turned them off, but they are still running.

According to energy experts, the amount of energy used by these vampire consumers can add up quickly. Vampire energy amounts to about five percent of energy consumed in the United States and usually costs consumers more than $3 billion each year.

Put a Stake Through the Heart of the Energy Vampire

  • Start by unplugging appliances directly from wall outlets when not in use. Instead of turning your electronic devices off one-at-a-time, make the job easier by plugging all of your electronics into a power strip or two and "switch off" the power strip after you have finished using the item(s). (Don't worry; this will not harm your electronics.)
  • If you are not going to be using your computer for a while and don't want to shut it down, simply turn off your monitor. Screen savers do not reduce the amount of energy used.
  • Try to use natural light whenever possible during the day, turn lights off when you are not using them.
  • If you know someone who is planning to buy a new appliance like a refrigerator or dishwasher, make sure they look for ones that have earned the EnergyStar® --they use less energy, sometimes half as much, to perform their normal duties. Look for the energy star sticker.


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