Exactly what is an Alternative Energy Source? Well put simply, an Alternative Energy Source is a source of energy that is renewable and does not use fossil type energy sources that emit pollinates back into our atmosphere. It is also considered as a fuel source or energy source that is free. Examples of sources of energy that are not free are:
These energy sources are often refereed to as Fossil Fuels meaning that they have been formed in the Earth’s ground system over millions of years. These energy sources are not renewable (since it takes millions of years for them to form), they are expensive to use and they give off harmful emissions during there use. In recent years the United States as well as other countries around the world have started using Nuclear Power to generate electricity, but is this method really any safer or more cost efficient than other methods? What do we do with the plutonium rods that are used up in a reactor? These plutonium rods emit harmful radiation for years after they are removed from a reactors core and must be stored in under ground caverns forever to keep from being harmful to society.
So what is a true Alternative Energy Source? A true source of alternative energy is the following:
These forms of energy are free, they are renewable and they are abundant. Let’s take a look at each one of these in more detail.
Just what is Solar Energy anyway? Solar Energy is energy that is created by sunlight more, specifically radiant light waves. These light waves produce heat and light and are absorbed by the Earths land surface and water surface. About 30% of this is reflected back into the atmosphere. Have you ever stood next to a glass window on a bright sunny day and felt the warmth that is radiated by the glass? This is a form of Solar Energy, the glass absorbs and collects the heat from the sunlight although not very efficient, the glass is a collector for this heat. Technology today has created ways of collecting this Energy that allow us to use it in our Homes and Business as:
Solar Water Heating
How do we do this? By what is known as Solar Collector Panels. These panels are made from a material that absorbs the energy from the sunlight and transfers it either as heat that we can use to heat our homes, heat water for hot water or with the use of storage cells as electricity for our homes. As most of us experience sunlight for 8-12 hours per day (when it is not cloudy) this is an excellent source of an Alternative Energy Source.
These solar panels are positioned on your home (usually the roof) to collect the most sunlight available during the majority of daylight hours. This is known as Direct Solar Energy as we are capturing the sunlight to do immediate work, warm your home warm your water or create electricity. The most frequently utilized method of generating solar power is through photovoltaic cells or solar panels. Photovoltaics, or solar cells as they are sometimes called, are manufactured from a material called silicon. Following a chemical process, the photovoltaic cells are created and can then turn the photons from the sunlight into energy.
The type of energy generated via a photovoltaic cell or cells can be stored in batteries and then used to power everything from radios, calculators, toys, solar lights, battery chargers, solar roof vent fans, water fountains, solar powered water pumps and generators and more!
Advantages of Solar Energy
Solar energy itself is free
Pollution-free way of providing power
Renewable energy source
Solar energy cells or panels are practically maintenance free and will last a long time
Saves money over time on electricity costs
As you can see Solar Power is one form of an Alternative Energy Source that we can use for generations to come. It is free, it is renewable and most importantly it does not harm our Earths atmosphere. I
In my next article we will take a look at Wind Power as an Alternative Energy Source.