Here Comes the Sun

Going Green with the Grizls

July 27- Write up something about an alternative energy source.

This is a tough question because this topic is so near and dear to my heart. I care deeply about the environment and I am working so hard to make you two appreciate it as well.

If I had the money I would put solar panels on the house in a minute. Being able to provide FREE energy to the house is so important. It could power our TV so you could watch Mickey Mouse and Octonauts, it could power Mom and Dad’s computer so we can keep ourselves entertained while you watch those shows and it could charge up our gas/electric hybrid car  (oh wait we do not have one of those).

Solar energy is an abundant and free energy source and we do not use it enough yet. I would love to see the US become a leader in solar (and wind) energy. I want to see the US be the leader in creating the technology to do it and the largest consumers of it.

Right now at our house we can use our solar oven to make food keeping us from using natural gas to heat our regular oven or our power using the toaster oven. I also really want a solar charger for my phone so I can charge my phone in a completely free way with no impact on the environment (maybe if I am go Santa will give me one!)

 Here are some interesting facts about solar power

  • 100 square miles of solar panels harvesting just 10% of the sun’s energy could produce enough energy for the entire United States.
  • Currently, 12% of US power comes from new renewables (that includes geothermal and wind power)

Here is a very basic description of how solar power works (without the physics lesson):

Solar cells are made of semiconductors, which are usually made from silicon, because they hold on to their power until it reaches the desired level also called “band gap energy.” Once it reaches the correct level it kicks the energy out through the appropriate channels to meet up with its opposite energy to create an electrical current.

Solar power cost vary by region meaning it could cost $21,000 to put a system in home in Nova Scotia or Phoenix, AZ but in Phoenix more energy (or kilowatt hours) will be created because of the suns intensity therefore reducing the overall cost of the system. Since the sun obviously does not shine all day nor is as strong in every part of the country the use and true cost of solar power is variable.

Current limitations of Solar Energy:

  • Storage of the energy harnessed by the sun needs to be tackled by the industry. Currently, it falls more in a use it or lose it scenario. There are devices that can store the energy but they are not cost effective at this time (but is improving rapidly).
  • There is a growing shortage of crystalline silicon which is used to make current solar panels because they have to use large quantities of it to make the panels thick enough to keep the energy. Industry leaders say that there needs to be a thinner panels developed so that they get better results using less resources.

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3 Responses to Here Comes the Sun

  1. Ann says:

    The fact about 100 square miles of solar power being able to provide energy for the U.S. – and not even using all of the sun’s power – is fascinating. I had no idea such a relatively small area (in relationship to the entire U.S.) could have that much power.

  2. I love solar power and I’m hoping that we will have the funds when buying a home to have them installed.

  3. abqmurphy says:

    As I mentioned in another comment, solar panel construction has left the US for China because we can’t make them as cheaply. Too bad, because I would like to use American made and keep jobs here.

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