A Quick Explanation of What Makes the Sun Renewable
The environmental impact of our current energy resources is simply becoming too much for nature to bear, so the economies of the world have adopted renewable energy resources and are preparing to slowly phase out the old nonrenewable resources. Renewable resources include solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, and hydroelectricity. As renewable energy slowly becomes a hot topic, it is necessary to learn more about the difference between renewable resources and nonrenewable resources.
What is Renewable Energy?
Renewable energy is the energy that does not come from fossil fuels, such as coal, oil (petroleum), or natural gas. Renewable energy can be replenished by nature in a reasonable period of time (usually less than one year) and can be used all over again. The major renewable energy resources include solar, wind, geothermal, hydroelectricity, and bioenergy.
All these renewable resource types can produce more energy than needed and can fully substitute for non-renewable resource generation within the next few decades. However, switching from fossil fuels to getting energy by natural means also means learning more about each of these types of renewable energy sources. Let’s read on:
Solar energy is the energy that comes from the sun. Solar is a renewable resource, as the sun constantly shines and sends energy to us. As the sun is set to shine for billions of years, this is also the time it will take to use up all of its hydrogens and stop shining. The two best and most widespread ways to use the sun’s energy are solar collectors and solar panels. The USA produces around 115 billion kWh of electricity per year from sunlight.
Solar collectors focus the sun’s energy to heat a medium – usually water or salt. The water can then be used in households to heat the water in the water tank or for immediate use, such as in beach showers. If the solar collectors use salt, on the other hand, the sun’s rays melt the salt and send it to evaporate water that is then used to produce electricity.
The other type of device that can use the sun as the energy source and reduce fossil field consumption is solar panels. Silicone-based solar panels convert the light coming from the sun into green electricity. This energy is a renewable source that can be used over and over again for as long as the sun is shining. Solar and wind are currently the most popular sources of energy in the US, like solar panels in California and solar panels in Texas testify.
Wind energy is one of the renewable energy resources. As the wind is one of the major renewable energy resources, it is widely used across the globe. The turbines are spun by the force of the blowing wind – the generator inside the turbine then uses this motion to generate electricity. This is a very popular and cheap form of renewable energy source: the US alone produces around 380 billion kWh of wind energy per year.
Geothermal energy is the energy of heat that can be found in the Earth’s crust. The Earth’s supply of heat is a renewable energy source that is used to generate electricity and heat. In many countries, such as Iceland, Norway, and Sweden, this form of energy is used to heat residential buildings. In the USA, the total geothermal energy capacity is 17 billion kWh per year.
Hydroelectricity is a form of electricity that is generated in large hydro dams or micro dams placed on smaller creeks and rivers. Both are renewable energy sources and have been around for more than two centuries. This is the oldest type of renewable energy source that humanity uses. The total hydroelectricity production in the USA is 260 Billion kWh per year.
Bioenergy is energy that is generated from biomass. Biomass is a very broad term, and it includes:
- Animal manure,
- Sewer sediment and residue,
- All different kinds of waste from the fruit, vegetable, and animal industry.
The three main ways to produce energy from biomass are burning, aerobic digesters, and anaerobic digesters. The former produces heat via organic matter breakdown. The latter produce heat and electricity by burning methane that gets produced as the organic matter decomposes in anaerobic (no air) conditions.
Nuclear energy is a type of energy that is considered green but not renewable. Unlike wind or solar energy renewable status, nuclear does not have that status because the materials used to make energy do not replenish themselves. Quite on the contrary, they are finite and will one day be used up. On the other hand, nuclear is considered green because there are no carbon emissions during the energy production stage.
What is Nonrenewable Energy?
Non-renewable energy is any energy (heat or electricity) that comes from nonrenewable resources. This type of energy is very widespread, with 84% of total world energy coming from nonrenewable resources. Creating this type of energy includes burning coal, oil, or natural gas. The biggest byproduct of the process is carbon dioxide, a powerful greenhouse gas.
Coal comes from underground deposits that formed millions of years ago. Coal is considered to be one of the dirtiest nonrenewable energy resources. Unfortunately, the majority of the world relies on coal to produce both heat and electricity. As a nonrenewable resource, coal will eventually be used up. Although it is naturally replenished, this is not done in a reasonably short time frame, as it takes millions of years to form.
Like coal, petroleum is found under the Earth’s surface. Oil is the liquid equivalent of coal. It is widely used to power your car, to make plastics, and finally to produce electricity. With this many uses, no wonder that oil is the second most widely used non-renewable energy source in the world.
Natural gas is yet another nonrenewable energy resource that pollutes nature by bringing to the atmosphere the ancient carbon-rich remains of plants and animals. Natural gas is used in cooking, fueling your car, heating your home, and electricity generation. This non-renewable energy is cheap and widely available, but relying too much on natural gas means less energy independence and a lot of money sent abroad.
Is Sunlight Renewable or Nonrenewable?
Sunlight is a renewable energy source. The sun emits light and heat non-stop, meaning that we can never run out of sunlight, which we can use to heat our homes and power our appliances. Large-scale solar farms also mean more energy at lower prices and a more energy-independent future.
Sunlight to Solar Energy
Sunlight is converted to solar energy by means of solar PV panels. Solar PV or solar photovoltaic panels are panels that convert sunlight into electricity that is then used in your household or sent to the grid. Current solar panels have an efficiency level of around 18-22%.
With new breakthroughs in technology, they have expected to up the efficiency to 40-45% in the next decade or two. With more solar energy, we can rely less on fossil fuels and spare the nature of all the extra CO2 that we currently pump into the atmosphere. Solar energy has a wide array of uses, including cooling systems.
How Green is Solar Power?
Solar power is very green. The old question of whether the solar panel can produce enough energy to offset the energy used for its own production belongs to the 1980s. With much higher efficiency, investments in solar energy today can be paid off in as little as 6-12 years, all the while you’re producing green energy and reducing your carbon footprint.
Availability of Solar Energy
Solar energy is available worldwide. There is not a single place on Earth that does not receive any sun. However, it is important to note that before installing solar panels to substitute for non-renewable energy sources, you should check with your local solar advisor and see what exact configuration you may need. Homes further south will receive more sunlight, and the solar investment will pay off much faster. On the other hand, homes further north may receive less sunlight, but their solar investment is still sure to pay off, especially as energy prices are much higher.
Why solar energy is the best renewable energy?
Solar energy is the best renewable energy for several reasons:
1. No emissions – solar is one of the cleanest forms of energy there is,
2. Easy installation – almost any rooftop is good enough for a solar system array,
3. Low cost – the price of solar panels has dropped by more than 75% in the past ten years,
4. Reliable supply – the sun shines almost every day.
For all these reasons, solar energy is the best form of renewable energy.
What is difference between renewable and non-renewable?
The difference between renewable and non-renewable energy sources lies in how fast they can be replenished by nature. A renewable resource such as solar is replenished instantly, and the same goes for hydro energy and wind. Another renewable resource, biomass, takes up to a year to be naturally renewed. A non-renewable resource, such as coal or oil, can take millions of years to be replenished naturally. For this reason, it is considered non-renewable. hello
What are 3 facts about solar energy?
Solar is the best renewable resource. Unlike fossil fuels, it emits no CO2 and methane, does not pollute, and is easy to install. Solar is also one of the immediately replenishing renewable resources and, with wind turbines, is the most popular on the globe. Solar energy technologies are also getting cheaper every year, and solar energy reaches prices that are comparable to coal, oil, and nuclear energy.
Do dirty solar panels generate electricity?
Yes, dirty solar panels generate electricity. However, dust and dirt residue on your solar panel reduces the sun’s energy that hits the panel and reduces the efficiency of this energy source. Different sources say that losses can be as high as 20-25% of the total energy output of your system, so make sure that your panels are dust-free.
Fossil fuels have been overused in the past two centuries. With climate change, air, soil, and water pollution, and the limited supplies of fossil fuels, we are sure to hit a short supply in the next few decades. Even with limited supplies, we rely too much on fossil fuels, but luckily, in recent years and the shift from a nonrenewable resource economy to renewable resources, humans have proven that caring for nature comes first. One of the pioneers of renewable energy, solar, is sure to take a big load of the energy transition on its shoulders. This renewable resource can supply more energy than humanity needs and at lower prices.