Solar power has been defined as the energy that is generated by tapping the sun’s heat. The energy derived from the sun is then used to power numerous industries and homes worldwide. There are two main ways through which solar power may be generated namely; by the use of photovoltaic’s (PV) and concentrated solar power (CSP).
During the 1980’s, the first plants that used concentrated solar power as its main source of energy were built. Since then, there have been massive developments in that area of energy generation which has seen the construction of the ISEGS, which is the of all concentrated solar power plants in the world, situated in the Mojave Desert in California which produces a total of 392 megawatts of electricity and the Topaz Solar Farm, also located in the United States of America, which is also the largest in the area of photovoltaic power stations in the world which generates about 550 megawatts of electricity.
Since the inception of numerous campaigns creating a global awareness on the need for resorting to cleaner and more environmentally friendly sources of energy, there has been a significant improvement in the total number of users of solar energy throughout the world and this gives the indication that the campaign being undertaken by various organizations and individuals is really having a positive effect on the general public. This therefore means that humans are now becoming more sensitive to all those activities that directly or indirectly damage the serenity and safety of the environment.
The use of solar powered energy in home comes with the following benefits;
- It does not cause any pollution: The use of solar energy ensures that there are no emissions of dangerous GHG into the atmosphere. One does not need any fuel or gas to be able to make use of the energy generated from the sun and therefore the problem of keeping such harmful pollutants that are always associated with gas is eliminated completely
- The solar cells also last for a very long time: The use of solar cells in generating solar energy ensures that maintenance does not become a headache for you. These cells can last for a very long time with little maintenance
- It is also renewable: The energy from the sun will always as long as the sun keeps shining. This means there is no need in refuelling the source of the energy which is always the case with most of the other sources of energy
- Its installation does not involve a lot of technicalities: This also means that the installation of solar panels does not require a lot of professional know-how as it does not make use of wires. This makes its usage a whole lot easier even for first time users.
As the other sources of energy which cannot be renewed like the fossil fuels, keep diminishing in such huge quantities, the importance of an energy source that can be renewed such as that of solar energy, becomes clearer and clearer by the passing of each day.
The current trend in the area of energy in the world is towards renewable sources of energy and even though there are some disadvantages that are associated with the use of solar energy, it won’t be long before such shortcomings are eliminated from the use of solar energy. Solar energy is the one source of energy which ticks all the positives of an environmentally friendly source of energy.
The total number of homes that use solar energy as their main source of energy in the UK has risen tremendously over the years. This was not the case quite some years back. As at the close of the year 2011, a total of 230,000 solar power projects had been instituted in the United Kingdom and all these solar power plants generated a total electricity of around 750 MW. This capitulated to about 1,000 megawatts during the early stages of the year 2012. This however was not the case some few years ago with a clear example being the year 2006 which saw the generation of around 12.5 megawatts of electricity.
This shows that there is a shift towards solar energy usage in the United Kingdom and it can be attributed to such factors as;
- The photovoltaic panels being made very affordable
- The feed-in tariff (FIT) introduced by the government in April, 2010
According to latest figures, the use of solar powered energy has been recorded in about five hundred thousand homes in the UK and it has been projected that by the year 2020, the total number of homes using solar energy would have risen to around ten million.
Looking at the figures of people who have resorted to the use of solar energy and the rate at which the total megawatts of electricity generated keeps increasing exponentially, it is safe to say that most homes in the UK are now resorting to the use of solar energy as their main source of energy.
Though the journey towards a cleaner and safer environment is full of obstacles and impediments, with the use of such sources of energy like solar energy, we will surely reach our destination safely.