We hear a lot about so-called renewable energy in the modern world. As the effects of global warming – or climate change, depending on your preferred terminology – become more apparent, the need to find a way to generate energy without damaging the Earth becomes all the more important.
One of the most talked about methods of making energy is solar power. As the name would suggest, solar power involves taking the energy of the sun and using that energy to generate electricity on Earth. While solar power is not a new concept, it is nevertheless looking like it will receive much focus during the search for renewable energies.
Solar power works by concentrating the heat of the sun in a specific place. To do this, solar panels or heliostats are erected in the sun’s glare, where they capture heat. The surfaces of these panels are usually mirrored or shiny, so as to increase the already potent heat of the sun. This heat is then used to generate electricity through a variety of methods; the most common of these is to use the heat to boil water and general steam, which is then used to power a traditional electricity generator.
Solar power is not infallible as a technology, but it is more reliable than was first previously thought. Despite popular conviction, it is possible to generate electricity using solar panels on overcast days, which opens the technologies up to most countries. For solar power to be truly effective, however, the panels need to be placed where they receive continual sunlight and heat throughout the year. For this reasons, countries such as Spain are becoming the pioneers of solar power – though their scientific advances will eventually benefit us all.