Solar power which the conversion of sunlight into electricity is the best alternative to fossil fuels as a source of electricity. Solar power is clean, economical and the solution to the long standing problem of environmental pollution. Although the initial cost associated with installation is expensive, the return on investment over time make solar energy the right choice as a main source for electrical power.
Solar power is converted to electricity either directly or indirectly. The direct method to convert solar power to energy called photovoltaics involves the use of solar cells. Photovoltaic power uses solar panels that consist of a number of cells which contain a photovoltaic material such as silicon, or cadmium telluride or copper indium. Photovoltaics were initially used to power small and medium-sized applications such as calculators. As of 2010, solar photovoltaics generates electricity in more than 100 countries and is the fastest growing power-generation technology in the world.
The indirect method, Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) systems use a series of mirrors or lenses built into a tracking system. The objective with this method is to focus a large area of sunlight into a small beam. The beam is then used as a heat source for a conventional power plant.This method of solar energy became popular during the 1980’s in some countries and continues to gain popularity as a recommended source of energy for new home construction. Solar power is not really a new technology. It has been around much longer than other sources of energy.
The origins of solar power go back as far as ancient China. Concentrated sunlight has been used for many applications from military defense to heating water for bathing. This might give rise to the bigger question of is solar energy really an alternative or a return to the source. The health and environmental issues that confront modern socitey along with the cost of living seem to be coming to pass in a way they has propelled solar energy back into the limelight so to speak.
As the world population grows and developing technology makes it easier to communicate and exchange ideas about new and renewable energy sources, it only seems natural that solar energy will take its place as the premier and most viable source to generate electricity. There many considerations that have to be explored in order to make solar energy the main and most user friendly source of energy. When people want an efficient clean source of energy to generate electricity, solar power is there and the energy that is generated can be stored or can also be utilized as it becomes available.