Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Solar energy - General overview

Our Sun is the most abundant source of energy on our planet. However, due to a long-term fossil fuel dominance as well as inadequate development of solar power technologies solar energy is far from being regarded as one of the most important energy sources in the world. Many energy experts believe that this will change in years to come, and that one day, maybe even before the end of this century solar power will rule the world as the world's most dominant energy source.

In order to dominate the future solar power has to solve several very important issues. First thing solar industry needs to do is to decrease high solar technology costs. Regardless what some may think solar energy is still far from being regarded as one of the cheapest energy options, even despite the recent drop of prices in solar panel market. Even despite the increased popularity of solar power technologies many people are still far from being ready to pay extra to go solar, and rather stick with cheap but dirty energy options such as coal.

Solar energy is also still very inefficient energy source. The amount of sunshine that Earth receives each day is enormous but solar panels and other solar power technologies lack required efficiency to use the most of it. Better efficiency means more generated electricity, and many scientists are already working on possible solutions to this very important issue. When talking about efficiency of solar power technologies we must not forget solar energy storage issue. Our Sun, as many of you probably already know, is intermittent energy source, meaning that solar power is not available all the time (during the night), and thus we require adequate solar storage methods that would ensure reliability of solar generated energy.

As you can see solar energy still has a lot of different issues that need to be resolved before solar energy industry becomes major player on global energy market. Science is working hard in search of adequate answers, and what solar energy industry desperately needs is one breakthrough discovery that would make solar energy cost-competitive with fossil fuels. Once this happens solar energy will become foundation our economies and industries, the same thing that oil and coal are today. Hopefully, we won't have to wait too long for this moment to come.

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