RENEWABLE ENERGY TECHNOLOGIES

 

 

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Energy from the Sun                               

It's quite tantalizing when you think that more energy arrives at the Earth's surface in one hour than is consumed by the world in a whole year ... energy that's both free and non-polluting.  If we could capture just one ten thousandth of the sun's light and heat we could supply more useful energy than we currently get from burning coal, oil and gas combined.

One example of how solar power can be used is solar panels for heating water ... they can be very simple, and they do work!  Made from a plate of heat absorbent material, such as copper painted black, the panel will trap solar energy and heat water circulated in pipes over the plate.  Solar panels come in all shapes and sizes, but a good system can save about 40% of annual household water heating costs.  Solar panels are also used as a cheap and effective way of pre-heating water for industrial use.

Another solar technology is photovoltaics, or solar electric cells.  These panels are manufactured using silicon and convert sunlight directly into electricity.  They are clean, safe and silent.  As fuel prices increase and environmental standards become more stringent, their use will become more attractive and widespread.

Even now, photovoltaics are proving particularly useful in remote locations where electricity is required for radio transmitters, lighting or pumping water.

 

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