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Solar power (Research Paper Sample)

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Solar Power
Solar power is a clean, cheap and non-renewable form of green energy. It involves the generation of energy by the conversion of sunlight into electricity. Climate change concerns together with high oil prices emphasize on the need to reduce reliance on oil and fossil fuels, and instead focus more on alternative and renewable sources of energy such as solar power. This paper discusses solar power and the technologies used in the generation of solar electricity. The paper also highlights the major advantages and drawbacks associated with solar power.
Solar power originates from the thermonuclear fusion reactions that take place in the sun and represents electromagnetic radiation for instance the visible light, x-rays, radio waves as well as infrared (Cameron, Cohen and Morrison 2). It could be effectively exploited and enhanced through various technologies to generate electricity either in large scale or small scale. Small scale electricity generation involves small solar power systems that produce electricity for businesses, homes or in remote regions that need power. On the other hand, bigger solar energy systems produce more power that is used to contribute to the electricity grid of the state or nation at large.
There are two main solar power technologies used today. The first one is the use of Photovoltaic cells (PV) and the other is through the use Concentrating Solar Power (CSP). The Concentration of solar power (CSP) technology applies the use of mirrors that act as reflectors. These reflectors reflect and concentrate sunshine onto receivers that gather solar energy and then convert it into heat. The process of power generation in CSP power plants involves the mirror reflectors focusing sunshine to heat a working fluid. Upon attaining high temperatures, the fluid is then used to power the engine or to spin the turbine, which then drives the generator and produces electricity as a result. This technology is advantageous since it provides reliable and efficient alternative energy option, which can help attain the power demands of a given state country. One CSP plant has the potential of generating adequate electricity that can be used in more than 80,000 homes (Shi 36).
The second solar power technology is called Photovoltaics (PV) and uses photovoltaic devices as well as materials in the conversion of sunlight into electrical energy. The use of photovoltaic cells entails solar panels converting sunlight into electric current by the use of the photoelectric effect. In this case, the collection of light is done through the spread of many solar panels (reflectors) over a wide area in a specific location so as to attain high temperatures; for instance at the solar power plant in Barstow, Ca where 10 Mega Watts (MW) of electricity is generated (Kamble et al. 124). The photovoltaic cells applied are widely referred to as...
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