“The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long…America cannot resist this transition. WE MUST LEAD IT.” ~ Barack Obama
For the past few decades, research in green and renewable energy have exploded within the market, yielding hundreds of innovative and promising alternative solutions to reduce the public’s use and dependence on coal, oil, and other natural gases. While back in the 1960s, solar photovoltaic were seen as a thing of the future, today, technological breakthroughs have positioned the industry for huge growth.
But before we continue, we need to understand the demand and need for green energy. Having this deeper understanding on the dangers and negatives that green house gases can have on our environment will allow us to internalize this situation as a problem and strategize various solutions for a better future.
Because of these extreme shifts within the climate and global terrain, millions of people have looked at other sources like green energy, to replace the use of limited resources such as gas or oil. Green energy comes from natural sources such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, plants, algae, and geothermal heat. These energy resources are not only renewable, but also impactful for the environment and our daily usage.
For the past few decades, scientist, researchers, and investors have focused specifically on four green energy concepts: solar, wind, hydropower, and geothermal energy. Solar power energy is probably one of the mot prevalent and knowledgeable concepts of renewable energy. It is the use of the sun’s energy that is absorbed through photovoltaic cells to generate electricity. In comparison, wind power energy is more mechanical. It extracts electrical energy from airflow through wind turbines or sails. Hydropower electricity, also known as waterpower, also uses that mechanical and kinetic concept by deriving its energy from falling or running water. Last but not least, geothermal energy generates energy from the Earth itself. This energy source is commonly found underneath the earth’s crust where a massive amount of thermal energy originates.
While these concepts have provided the public with innovative solutions to a better and greener future, a series of new developments in solar PV technology is beginning to create promising and contributing accomplishments within the industry’s success. This type of advance ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking is the exact mindset we need to fully make the switch to green technology. For example, the advancement in solar cell technology has give researchers opportunities to improve the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of solar cells within PV systems. Currently the average solar cell is approximately 15% efficient, which means that over 80% of the sunlight that hits these solar panels do not get converted into electricity. As such, scientists have been constantly experimenting with new technologies and theories to improve this ratio so that we can fully optimize our use of solar energy. In addition, researchers have contemplated various replacements for outdated power lines, transformers, and control stations that make up our current energy grid.
To move towards a cleaner energy economy, we must first change our mindset in improving green energy each and every day. Elon Musk has already begun a national change with his work with SolarCity and the hyperloop trains. If we as the public can attune to these problems beyond the idea of capturing the energy to a more efficient improvement within the technology itself, then I can safely say that our future will finally be secured.