Vol. 4 2010 – The solar advantage
The Solar Advantage
Solar powered products present a clean and renewable solution to these potentially long-term environmental concerns. Building green may be the way of the future; however, what makes one renewable energy source more superior to the next? This article explores how solar energy compares to other efficient alternatives and its various applications.
Evaluating the Alternatives
In comparison to other renewable energy options, solar power is often considered the most efficient choice for the green-minded generation. When evaluating the purchased cost versus the cost per rated watts of various energy substitutes, solar energy tends to have a higher fixed cost at the initial investment. Yet unlike other energy sources, it does not require constant purchasing, excessive monitoring or expensive maintenance, thus is inclined to have a shorter payback period.
One of the most compared solutions to solar energy is wind power. The use of wind turbines or windmills can generate a lot of electricity. Although a very beneficial choice, its size, the complexity of its structure and the noise it generates, makes it difficult to apply to a wide range of applications. From automatically flushing a toilet to providing electricity to an entire home, solar power may be utilized in various practical and urban applications – not to mention, the maintenance of the related equipment is less complex.
Geothermal power is also commonly compared to the solar option. Although an innovative means to heat and cool a home or building, solar power can do that and much more, such as providing hot water. Solar water heaters present a simple and cost-effective solution to minimize a building’s ecological “footprint,” without sacrificing a person’s comfort with their routine activities. It utilizes the heat it captures from the sun to pre-heat cold water before it goes into the hot water tank. By doing so, it reduces harmful greenhouse gases and of course, decreases your utility bills year round.
The sun is often argued to being the most powerful renewable energy source available to mankind. Whether, directly or indirectly, other forms of renewable energy are possible because of the sun. For example, the sun’s heat enables wind for turbines to function; the sun’s ray contributes to the growth of plants used to generate biomass energy etc. It may be used to generate electricity, heat water, light, heat and cool all types of buildings.
The energy source to use in a given project is dependent on various factors such as geographical location and the project’s energy requirements. Given the investment involved with utilizing a renewable energy option, it is crucial to weigh the pros and cons of each and select the best system during your specifications process. As technology continues to astound us with innovative means of producing energy, you can expect that solar power will be a major part of our future.
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