Sustaining Life: Sustainable Power

Sustaining Life: Sustainable Power

When we speak of energy, power, and development, we all think development, industrialization, advancement; all these leads to pollution and degradation of the environment. You hear advocates say that our environment was a lot purer in long gone ages because people do not use energy.

Who’s Liable?

That is not necessarily true; you see ancient man used fire to cook things, and then the sun to warm them up. Even humanity itself uses energy to be able to move and go about life each day. We cannot survive without energy and yet we blame it for the destruction of our planet. It is us who use energy to no ends, it is us who abuse its use therefore we are liable to find the solution to pollution. It is our responsibility to our selves and the future generation to seek ways of supporting our way of life without harming the environment.

The Scope and Definition of Sustainable Power

Generally sustainable power is thought to be any renewable kind of energy. Meaning it is any puissance whose source cannot be depleted and does not contaminate the environment on a long term basis.

Although sustainable power maybe confused with alternate or green energy the two are distinctly different. Sustainable power is conducive to nature but it is set apart from green or alternate energy because its source is unending, it cannot be exhausted.

Power Source

Sources of sustainable energy vary. It can be as simple as hydrogen to as complex as nuclear energy. When we speak of sustainable development we must consider the basics before heading of to the complex, after all we haven’t used the newly scientifically discovered energy long enough to know its possible effects. The first things to consider are those that nature itself supplies; like the air, wind, solar, tidal, and water resources.

Techno Speak

With all the media hype surrounding this idealism you’d think that we aren’t already using sustainable energy! Yes, we already are using alternate energy resources. We have water dams, the waterfall power plants, wind mills, geothermal plants, and the nuclear power plants.

There are three technological classifications for the technologies that help us attain sustainable power; these include biomass combustion, hydropower, and geothermal plants. First generation power automatons arose during the industrial revolution. This is the time where people discovered that manufacturing will become faster thru the use of machines, and faster output means larger sales. In a way sustainable power was researched and invented not for the future but for the moment; to improve lives, industry and the economy.

Second Generation energy resources comprise wind power, various forms of modern bioenergy, solar photovoltaics, and solar energy. These technologies emerged from the need to depend on oil so much. Research and Development was massively funded during the 1980’s and we are now reaping the benefits.

Third Generation sustainable energy resources are those that relatively new; biorefinery technologies, ocean energy, hot dry rock energy, biomass gasification, concentrating solar thermal power and even nanotechnology may make future appearances that will hopefully end our quest for continuous energy sources. On the stage of research and experimentation these resources are still under development but raise the hopes of those who continually seek sustainable power.

All that have been mentioned are technological advances and discoveries of everlasting energy source, but in the end like everything in our lives, the future is in our hands. Even when we are provided with more nature friendly energy resources if we don’t conserve and use it wisely we will still end up damaging the very planet on whose existence and well being we very much depend on.

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Why Use Solar Power – 6 Great Reasons

Why Use Solar Power – 6 Great Reasons

Perhaps you are happy with the status quo of today. Perhaps you feel all is fine and you don’t feel the need to change a system that’s worked for over a century. If you do, consider a few of these benefits to solar power and you may just recognize its potential in a somewhat more responsible, yet selfish, light.

I don’t care about the environment?

Perhaps everything in the world is fine with your life. The last thing you care about are trees, fresh air and clean water. Heck, the water shows up every time you turn on a faucet, the heat comes on when it’s cold, the light switch brings you light. What’s there to worry about? Consider that this is just the problem. If you don’t care for the environment, the faucet may not bring you clean water, the heat may not go on and the car certainly will not start. If the environment is kept clean and left to do what it was intended to do, everything will continue to work fine. But get in its way and everything you thought was fine won’t be for long.

One way to accomplish the goal of keeping all the comforts of home working properly is by using other sources of power generation like the sun, not generating nasty things that get in the way of the environment doing its job. Current sources of power come from dead things like old forests gone millennium ago. Environmentally responsible power, heat and transport come from living or energized things like water and oxygen molecules. Sun can be turned into electricity and used to power your car, heat your home and generate your light. But to make the process work, you need to be able to see the sun, which means caring for the environment and not getting in its way.

Cost savings

One of the best things about caring for the suns ability to do its job is that it saves you money in the long run. Once solar systems are purchased and installed, they cost little if anything to operate. In most instances, the government will even help to pay for the upfront costs of installing the system through tax incentives. Additionally, power companies in most regions are required to pay you for energy that you have generated and not used. Yes, you read correctly, the power company will pay you!

Profitable

In most instances, 70% of the northern hemisphere can generate enough solar power to run and heat their homes with existing solar systems. This means that whatever is left over goes back to the power grid if you so choose. Just think of your power meter running backwards. The extra power you need for that cloudy day is stored in ever more efficient batteries. Most current users indicate that the use of solar systems only takes a little thought in power management.

Off the grid
Depending upon how you feel about the topic, one of the better reasons to use solar power is that you can take yourself off the “grid” so to speak. Many people don’t enjoy being a part of the social collective that is interconnectivity. Going solar takes you away from this one aspect of community and puts you closer to self reliance.

Versatile

Even though the solar power generation systems of today have come a long way to providing power, heat and a host of other services there is a long way to go. This is not to indicate, however, that solar power is not currently versatile in form and function. Solar panels can currently be formed into thin sheets to for car top electric powered cars. They can cover suburban rooftops and not be noticed, unlike those 1970’s units. Costs are also coming down almost as fast as the flat screen TV’s of today. Flat screens that solar power can power up through the use of a process called photovoltaic’s.

Personal responsibility

Past the cost savings and environmental benefits that solar power brings you should consider using it because you are part of a larger social order that will procreate. The human species has not been around for all that long and is doing its best to end its run in one way or another. If you would like to give your children’s children a better shot at continuing the human species run on this planet solar power is one small contribution that you can make all by your little self.

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Photovoltaic Panels – Harvest the Sun

Photovoltaic Panels – Harvest the Sun

There is a lot of energy in sunlight and that energy can be converted to electricity with photovoltaic panels. These panels are made up of several photovoltaic cells which are constructed of treated silicon which creates an electrical charge when exposed to sunshine.
Each photovoltaic cell produces just a small amount of electricity, so they are wired together into panels to provide enough current for common household appliances.
Photovoltaic cells come in three basic varieties. Monocrystalline are the most efficient but also the most expensive. They consist of a single crystal cut from an ingot of silicon.
Polycrystalline are the most common and slightly less efficient than monocrystalline. The silicon they are made from have several small crystals.
Amorphous cells are made by spreading the silicon on another material like stainless steel. These cells are cheap to produce but produce significantly less power than the other two types. This means that photovoltaic panels must be larger to produce the same amount of electricity.
Monocrystalline panels are slightly more efficient in low light conditions, but the difference is not significant. When choosing photovoltaic panels the most significant factor is the amount of available space. If you have lots of room you can install amorphous panels for less money.
As mentioned above, individual photovoltaic cells are wired together into panels which can produce more electricity. The panels themselves can be wired together in parallel or in series to produce a variety of currents suitable for almost any use.
The panels and arrays produce Direct Current (DC) power so it must be converted to Alternating Current (AC) for most purposes. This is accomplished with an inverter.
The AC current from the inverter can be used to power most household appliances. It can also be connected to the breaker box from the utility company so that solar electricity can act as a backup system to regular power supplies. The advantage of using both systems is that if there is any excess electricity produced by the sun it is fed back into the grid for a credit against the homeowner’s electricity bill.

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