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[Energy] [Column] 2. Infinite power of the sun – Solar Energy_Cho Sang-Min

by | 02-03-2012 14:04 Comments 20 recommendations 1

Infinite power of the sun – Solar Energy


Solar energy is the most ideal energy

Sun is an !==!==!==!--object--====== with the most powerful energy in solar system. Changes in the number of sunspots can change the weather and just an explosion of some sunspots alone can cut off radio communication and satellite can leave its orbit. The amount of the sun's energy is beyond our imagination. Energy level that Earth receives from the sun is 1,100 watt per 1? and this is enough to operate about 6 refrigerators. When this is converted into an index, this is about 10 thousand times greater than the energy used by the entire humankind. Research states that about 5 billion years of lifespan is left for the sun. If it is 5 billion years, people don?t need to worry about the lifespan of the sun.

This means we can use energy with no worries, generation after generation, if we use the sun properly. Also, solar energy does not emit any pollutants. Not just air contaminants, such as sulfur oxide (SOx) or nitrogen oxide (NOx) but, it doesn?t emit green-house gases that accelerate global warming like carbon dioxide (CO2). Add to that, there is no risk of explosion or fire and it is available anywhere in the world. In other words, it is the most ideal energy source that can overcome weaknesses of fossil energy and nuclear energy like coal and petroleum.


Two ways to use solar energy

Technically, not just light and heat obtained directly from solar radiation, but also atmospheric activity, hydrologic cycle and growth of grass and trees are fundamentally based on the solar energy. But in general, solar energy is usually limited to the energy directly obtained from solar radiation. Ways of using such solar energy can be classified into two types. First, it is a method of producing electricity with sunlight and the second is of producing hot water by using heat from the sun. 

An electricity generating device by using the light of the sun is called Photovoltaics System. A key component of Photovoltaics System is the solar battery, and this is a device that generates electricity by using photoelectric effect. Photoelectric effect signifies a phenomenon of electrons popping out when sun shines on the surface such as a metal, and this was first discovered by a French physicist, E. Becquerel, in 1839. In 1954, solar battery was first invented by using photoelectric effect in Bell Laboratories, and America loaded solar batteries in Vanguard satellite in 1958 for the first time. Since then, Japan and Germany participated in solar battery development, and the development of solar batteries throughout the world started in earnest after the two oil crisis in 1970's. Korea also started to develop solar batteries since then. Ways to use Photovoltaics System is infinite. The most commonly used method is to generate electricity by installing the system at buildings or land for family and industrial use. However, photovoltaics system is applicable in most of electronics from satellites, to spaceships, cell phones, notebook batteries, and portable cooking utensils.      


[Illustration] Photovoltaics System of Arirang 2

[Illustration] hotovoltaics System for family use

Photovoltaics System of Arirang 2

Source: Yonhalp News

hotovoltaics System for family use

Source: S-Energy homepage


On the other hand, a device that produces warm water with solar heat is called the Solar Thermal System. Solar Thermal System consists collecting area where solar energy is converted into heat, heat build-up part where converted heat is stored, and utilizing part that supplies stored heat effectively. Among them, the key component is a collecting area which is simpler than solar batteries in technical aspect as its basic principle is to increase temperature of liquid inside the collecting area. Solar thermal system is usually used to supply warm water in detached houses, public facilities, and community halls, and the range of usability is not as wide as the photovoltaics system.


The future of solar energy

But why is it so hard to find solar energy that is very idealistic and has wide range of usage? The biggest reason is because it is too expensive. For instance, electricity produced from photovoltaics system is at least 5 times more expensive than from coal or petroleum, and it is at least 10 times more expensive than the electricity produced from nuclear energy. Once it is installed, it can receive energy from the sun for free but because the cost of photovoltaics system is too expensive there is no way to recover the expense already used up.  Then would it be difficult to use solar energy in the future? Not necessarily. The cost of photovoltaics system and solar thermal system is reducing at a very fast speed as numerous researchers are putting their effort on the development. On the other hand, the cost of fossil fuels is gradually becoming more expensive. For this reason, specialists are making forecast that from 2015 to 2020, the solar energy will become cheaper than the fossil fuels.

About 30 years ago, an animation, called "Future Boy Conan,"was produced and has been sensationally popular for years. Like the name of this animation, it takes place in some distant future. Human race in this animation produced electricity by installing photovoltaics system far out in the universe and brought electricity by wireless. Literally, this cartoon-like fantasy is becoming reality. Japan and the U.S started to develop space photovoltaics system. I encourage you to use your imagination about how solar energy can be used. Your imagination can be the key to solve energy problems in near future.  


 [Illustration ] imaginary picture of Photovoltaics System in space

imaginary picture of Photovoltaics System in space

Source : Chosun Biz







  • says :
    The life became possible due to sun. other forms of energy are a kind of bi product of solar energy. so , why not use it directly in its natural form- the form of solar energy.
    Posted 23-11-2015 16:02

  • says :
    Posted 25-11-2014 18:55

  • says :
    As the writers speaks in the last paragraph, solar panels may be placed in outer space to receive the sunlight. Of course, the means of transferring the energy to Earth remains to be researched.
    Posted 09-07-2014 08:05

  • says :
    liked the info
    Posted 31-12-2013 01:04

  • says :
    good share
    Posted 30-12-2013 02:52

  • says :
    thanks for sharing
    Posted 22-12-2013 22:41

  • says :
    solar energy is the principle power
    Posted 22-12-2013 21:10

  • says :
    solar ienergy is one of the biggest energy
    Posted 16-12-2013 20:51

  • says :
    Solar energy is a very good idea but our solar technology is not so efficient. But you should take into consideration because it takes nonrenewable resources to make the solar panels in the first place.
    Posted 03-12-2013 21:11

  • says :
    Thanks for posting!
    Posted 21-11-2013 23:36

  • says :
    thank you for great post.
    Posted 13-08-2013 08:37

  • says :
    thanks for adding up my knowledge

    Posted 11-08-2013 17:51

  • says :
    Yes, solar energy is the most ideal energy
    Posted 25-07-2013 22:22

  • says :
    solar energy, the master energy
    Posted 20-07-2013 22:36

  • says :
    yes, solar energy is a very good alternative source of energy
    Posted 19-07-2013 12:46

  • says :
    Solar energy is really a good source of energy.
    Posted 19-07-2013 01:17

Rohan Kapur

  • says :
    Sun has tremendous potential for energy.
    Posted 18-06-2013 22:54

  • says :
    Let's see how the technology evolves. We need to make the process for producing solar panels extremely effective so that we can minimize the impact on the environment.
    Posted 25-02-2013 10:27

  • says :
    What should we do about the problems associated with solar panels?
    They require much natural resource and also they distract many birds.
    Posted 22-02-2013 14:59

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