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Mining, Energy and Power

Advantages and Disadvantages of Solar Energy

The use of solar energy is versatile; it is used for electricity, central heating, hot water, cooking, for producing salt and even for desalination. The energy comes from the sun’s rays and is known to be very environmentally friendly. However, when the sun rays enter the earth’s atmosphere it is quite dilute. Although the advantages are clear there are also disadvantages.

Let’s start with the biggest advantage; it is a clean form of energy. To produce electricity or heat you only need the sun rays. There is no need to use fossil fuel in combination with sun rays to produce electricity or heat. You just need a solar energy collector or solar power panels in order to convert the energy into electricity.

Another advantage is that it is cheaper than to use traditional electricity for heating. If you are using traditional electricity for heating you can save a lot of money. In return you will get lower electric bills and it also means that you don’t have to maintain heaters.

If you live in a remote area where there are no power-lines solar energy can be the solution. There are remote areas where power companies have no means to access your home. This great alternative can provide you with anything from heating water, electricity, and even cooking.

Another great use is for desalination in areas where fresh, drinkable water is scarce. The brine is evaporated and leaves the salt crystals in the bottom of the basin. The water in turn condenses back in another basin where it is now drinkable.

The advantages mentioned above are tremendous but there are some disadvantages. These disadvantages also need to be discussed to paint a better overall picture.

The main disadvantage of solar energy is that it’s dilute. This means you have to have a lot of solar collectors installed around your house. The energy itself is free, but the solar collectors are relatively expensive and some require regular maintenance in order to work properly and efficiently. If you decide to go solar you need to calculate the return on investment in order to know if the investment will be worth it.

One big disadvantage is that you need the sun rays to make use of it. If you are situated in a part of this beautiful planet where there is not much sun light then this could be a problem. In other areas, the sun rays are almost always covered in clouds making solar energy collectors less efficient. You should first know if the sunshine in your area is abundant for the most part of the year. Of course if you live in desert areas like in Arizona or Mexico the sun produces a lot of sunshine for the most part of the.

Lastly the sun only shines during the day. Therefore if you need electricity or hot water during the night, like many of us do, it can be a problem. You will need a backup system like the ‘old’ utility grid or you will need to store the electricity for later use. There are battery systems that can store solar energy for later use. The hot water collected during daytime is often stored in a tank for later use. The modern systems are becoming more sophisticated in storing electricity or hot water. If you are still using your grid, the produced electricity can be pumped back into the grid.

Solar energy is very clean and is a good alternative for traditional electricity. Although this is true it is also good to mention the disadvantages. If you are considering using solar energy you must read this first to make a balanced decision.

 

The Basics of Solar Energy

Energy from the sun is simply solar energy, it is produced when the sun is out and shining, it sends heat beaming to the earth. Where is solar energy? Its anywhere that the sun shines upon.

One of the difficulties with catching the sun’s energy is that it is spread out, it is not directed to one area. This makes it hard to heat an object using only the suns rays. It is a fact that an object will get hot out in the sun, but there is so much more untapped potential from the sun’s rays.

Millions of people have throughout time saved this energy, to provide warmth in cold weather. Many years ago (thousands of years) people discovered that using thick glass or magnifying glass on certain objects that they could heat it up so hot that it would ignite. People realized the value and power of this natural energy.

What is needed is a solar collector, this will very effectively heat your room at night time, and when there is cloud cover. You need to utilize a source which will captivate the suns rays to a particular area, the sun will pass through it and go in the space. Items within the space attract and keep this heat apart from the suns rays, and cannot escape without the assistance from the source. One great collector of solar energy is glass because it lets the sunlight go through it and into the space, the suns heat cannot escape easily causing this space beneath the glass to heat up. There are items within the space to retain heat making the space warmer longer. This area has just been heated utilizing solar energy.

Sun rooms and greenhouses use glass because its a terrific common solar collector, heat is trapped in the interior after the glass attracts the suns rays, Even when the thermometer drops outside the interior stays warm.

Solar Power is everywhere that the sun light falls upon. To keep your house warm in the evening, you need direct sunlight for a great amount of time during the day, not just an hour or two, but who knows what future technology can bring, there is enough power from the sun to heat a home all night from collecting only a few hours of focused light, but we are not able to utilize it yet.

I was raised and educated in the midwest, and continued my education in Utah. I am interested in researching ways to use less fossil fuels, and decrease pollution.

 

Reduce Energy Consumption by 50% … Is it reality???

There are two fundamental flaws with the approach of energy conservation as it stands. First is that there is a very large difference between what we as consumers use to produce the workload we require (kilo Watts) and what the utility is required to generate (kilo Volt-Amperes) in order to meet this demand. The difference is known as Power Factor, or the measure of electrical efficiency. You may already be familiar with this concept. In order to reduce KW, we require more efficient technologies to be developed and implemented. This costs us valuable resources, including energy. The ironic part is that the emphasis is placed on what consumers see as a reduction but the generation of energy has really been left in the dark.

Oddly enough the technology exists, and has for decades, to improve the Power Factor (or level of efficiency) where we can realize a reduction the amount of energy generators are required to produce (KVA) while providing the same workload (KW) to the customers. This means more available power to use, if necessary, to begin developing new products which focus on reductions at the consumer end of things.

The second problem relates more to the lighting side of things you mentioned in your article. Although we may be reducing KW by implementing new lighting solutions, these bulbs require electronic ballasts. The use of solid state electronics has introduced yet another ingredient into our energy pot in the form of Harmonics. Harmonic disturbances can adversely affect both the equipment itself along with any other piece of equipment on the electrical system causing decreases in lifespan, poor performance and even catastrophic failures. In the long run, the proliferation of events like this will have much greater effect on us than using a little extra power to light our homes.

Once the threshold of 5% THD (total harmonic distortion) has been reached, further increases will begin to effect efficiency. For every 2% increase over 5%THD, consumption is increased by about 0.5%.

Example 1

We have a facility that uses 2 million kWh of electricity a month where approximately 10% of the load is lighting (about 200,000 kWh). The facility is already operating at 5% THD, which is quite common and still within accepted practices. Some new lighting with electronic ballasts were installed which should reduce the lighting load by about 40% or 80,000 kWh. These lights then increase the harmonic distortion by about 8% for a total of 13% THD. This increase doesn’t just apply to the lights, but the entire facility. The 8% increase in THD will then equate to an increase of about 4% of the total consumption or about 80,000 kWh.

In this instance, all of the energy that the lighting change saved was then lost again by the harmonics these very same lights are generating. Doesn’t make much sense does it? Especially considering a premium was paid to have the lighting installed. There is now no energy saved and the lights never pay for themselves!

Ok, so I agree that there have been advances in technology and that this is only a hypothetical situation. But it also only considers the lights and not other devices that are generating harmonics as well. All too often, harmonics distortion levels are in the range of 20%, 30% and even 40%.

The harsh reality is that it is unlikely for us to reduce the amount of energy we’re consuming by some 50% whether we change our thinking or not, at least for the near future. What we need to consider is how we can begin to use our energy more efficiently and in doing so, ensure we are not creating a whole other world of problems. Only when we understand how to use our energy properly will we be able to reduce our energy consumption by anything significant.

Are You Can Do It???? Hope sooo..!!! :)

 

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