Solar Energy- The Future Energy Resource
It took the Earth millions of years to develope these natural resources, and we as humans have almost brought it to the brink of extension, hardly within two centuries. We now need a never ending source, for energy, and the only option left for that is, as all would agree- The Sun. According to some experts, the sun is our best source of renewable, clean energy. Some estimate that the sun can produce 10,000 times as much energy as the Earth uses at the turn of the 21st century. The future of solar energy depends mostly on how it is applied, rather than whether it would be enough energy to be a viable world power source. In the 21st century, solar power has already become a small part of daily life. From solar heated swimming pools to solar powered homes, some examples already exist to show the useful application of the clean, safe, sustainable power of the sun. Yet many wonder if small applications will be all solar power is capable of handling. Certainly, the difficulties of large solar plants are many, although many experts continue to insist that the future of solar energy is quite sunny.
The largest problem facing the future of solar energy is the space required to build solar power plants. A solar plant is comprised of thousands of solar panels, not unlike those currently installed on alternative energy homes. Because of this, solar plants require a consistently sunny area and a considerable amount of space. Currently, the one of the largest solar power stations in the world covers more than 10 square miles (16.9 km squared) and creates enough power to run about 200,000 homes. Some experts suggest that to provide power for the entire United States, an area approximately 100 miles (160.9 km) per side would be required.
In addition to building more and larger plants, the future of solar energy lies in the construction of new buildings and the retro-fitting of many older ones. As long as the trend toward alternative energy supplies continues, some experts predict that most, if not all, new buildings will have solar-energy panels installed on roofs. Since these are also easily installed, many older buildings may receive upgrades to run on solar power. Experts and environmentalists hope that green-energy building will be encouraged by world government through generous tax incentives and exemptions for alternative energy use. One encouraging factor about the future of solar energy is that many of the world's greatest innovators are choosing to focus their considerable talent and funds on improving alternative energy technology. One of the challenges is the task of making solar energy an economical solution to the growing power needs of the world.
Although there are many reasons to believe that the future of solar energy is bright and coming soon, the answer really lies in the hands of the world's citizens. In a world largely governed by economics and politics, what ordinary citizens choose to buy and support will dictate the trends of the future. By installing solar panels, donating to research organizations involved in alternative energies, majoring in science or engineering, and voting for measures that give money to alternative energy development, anyone can influence the future of solar energy.
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