Solar energy is lauded as an inexhaustible fuel source that is pollution- and often noise-free. The technology is also versatile. For example, solar cells generate energy for far-out places like satellites in Earth orbit and cabins deep in the Rocky Mountains as easily as they can power downtown buildings and futuristic cars.
Solar energy doesn’t work at night without a storage device such as a battery, and cloudy weather can make the technology unreliable during the day. Solar technologies are also very expensive and require a lot of land area to collect the sun’s energy at rates useful to lots of people.
Despite the drawbacks, solar energy use has surged at about 20 percent a year over the past 15 years, thanks to rapidly falling prices and gains in efficiency. Japan, Germany, and the United States are major markets for solar cells. With tax incentives, and efficient coordination with energy companies, solar electricity can often pay for itself in five to ten years.
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Applications for Solar Energy in Richmond California
This energy, in the form of heat and light, supports all life on Earth, drives the Earth’s climate and weather and is predominately responsible for the class of resources collectively known as renewable energy.Solar energy also broadly describes technologies that utilize sunlight.The applications are diverse and date back millennia.The Greeks, Native Americans and Chinese warmed their buildings by orienting them toward the sun.In Europe, farmers used elaborate field orientation and thermal mass to increase crop yields during the Little Ice Age.Modern solar technologies continue to harness the sun to provide water heating, daylighting and even flight.Solar power generally describes technologies that convert sunlight into electricity and in some cases thermal or mechanical power.In 1866, the French engineer Auguste Mouchout successfully powered a steam engine with sunlight.This is the first known example of a solar powered mechanical device.Over the next 50 years inventors such as John Ericsson, Charles Tellier and Frank Shuman developed solar powered devices for irrigation, refrigeration and locomotion.The progeny of these early developments are concentrating solar power plants.The modern age of solar power arrived in 1954 when researchers at Bell Laboratories developed a photovoltaic cell capable of effectively converting light into electricity.
This breakthrough marked a fundamental change in how power is generated to and from Richmond CA.Since then solar cells efficiencies have improved from 6% to 15% with experimental cells reaching efficiencies over 40%.Prices on the other hand have fallen from $300 per watt to less than $3 per watt.The utilization of solar energy and solar power spans from traditional technologies that provide food, heat and light to electricity which is uniquely modern. The diversity of form and long history of solar energy are manifest in a wide variety of applications. Many technologies use solar energy. Some classifications of solar technology are active, passive, direct and indirect.
Active solar systems use electrical and mechanical components such as tracking mechanisms, pumps and fans to process sunlight into usable outputs such as heating, lighting or electricity.Passive solar systems use non-mechanical techniques of controlling, converting and distributing sunlight into usable outputs such as heating, lighting, cooling or ventilation.These techniques include selecting materials with favorable thermal properties, designing spaces that naturally circulate air in Richmond, and referencing the position of a building to the sun.Direct solar generally refers to technologies or effects that involve a single conversion of sunlight which results in a usable form of energy.Indirect solar generally refers to technologies or effects that involves multiple transformations of sunlight which result in a usable form of energy.A solar cell or photovoltaic cell is a device that converts light into electricity using the photovoltaic effect.Until recently, their use has been limited because of high manufacturing costs.One cost effective use has been in very low-power devices such as calculators with LCDs.Another use has been in remote applications such as roadside emergency telephones, remote sensing, cathodic protection of pipe lines, and limited “off grid” home power applications.
Even our current path is generally thought by scientists to present catastrophic possibilities, including sea-level rise, increases in extreme weather, species extinctions and agricultural disruptions. This is a good threshold definition of “disaster,” doctors said.
That scenario presumes a change in the energy balance at the top of the atmosphere of 8.5 watts per meter squared by the year 2100, he added. So what reduction in Earth’s average radial distance to the sun would yield a comparable change in energy?
By estimates, the current average distance, 92.96 million miles, needs to be reduced by only about three-tenths of a percent for those atmospheric changes to occur. That works out to be 290,000 miles.
“That is not much, only about 21 percent larger than the average distance between the Earth and moon.”