Humanity has always needed sources of power to get work done, and for much of history, that power simply came from human and animal labor such as oxen plowing fields or a blacksmith. The Industrial Revolution introduced steam power, when pressurized and heated steam rotated turbines to create power. This helped make factories, turbines, and steam-powered vehicles possible. Late in the 1800s, electricity was harnessed and many new inventions were pioneered, from the telephone to radios in the early 1900s. Large, fossil fuel-powered power plants can be found across the world to generate massive amounts of electricity today.
These power plants are known to heavily pollute the air, however, and the use of fossil fuels has come under increasing scrutiny. These power plants are gradually being phased out in favor of cleaner energy sources, such as wind turbine farms and solar energy systems such as solar power arrays. This commercial solar energy may provide as much electricity as needed, and without polluting. After all, even the largest commercial solar energy arrays don’t produce any byproducts as they work of any kind. Can solar power and commercial solar energy arrays provide power for the future?
On Solar Power
Solar energy has a number of advantages over the fossil fuels that they aim to replace. For one thing, a coal seam or a natural gas pocket may get mined out and run dry, but the sun exists on an astronomical scale. The sun produces a truly vast amount of energy nonstop, and even the tiny sliver of power that strikes the Earth is enough to power all of human industrial civilization many times over. The sun cannot possibly be mined dry, and astronomers say that it may shine for another five billion years. For all intents and purposes, the sun is a bottomless energy source at all times, and it offers enough power for even the most generous estimates of future energy demands.
Solar panel technology dates back to the 1970s, but for a time, it was not efficient and cost-friendly enough to be economically viable. This started to change in the 2000s, and now in the 2010s, commercial solar energy arrays are more economically viable than ever before, and are being installed at an accelerating pace around the world. Wherever there is sunlight, these panels can be installed to collect that solar energy, use it to excite electrons inside them, and create electricity for use on any scale. Many parts of the world are quite suitable for these arrays, having strong sunlight and little cloud cover. Arid regions are often best, such as Texas or the southwest in the United States, much of Mexico, and many regions in Africa, too. Most African nations and regions are still developing, and some of them are installing power grids for the very first time. Many visiting and native African engineers and contractors alike are installing solar panels and wind farms there to provide power for local communities, pollution-free.
Setting Up Those Panels
Another perk of solar panels is that they can be set up on any scale necessary. Homeowners and single businesses can have a few panels installed on the roof, enough to power that building day and night without needing to construct a vast array of those panels. An interested homeowner can contact local solar panel installation contractors to get this job done, putting up the support brackets and then the panels and all necessary wiring. One official inspections declare the solar array viable and safe, the house is disconnected from the power grid. Excess generated power might even be sent to local power plants for a small profit.
Meanwhile, solar panels can and often are built on a larger scale, too. These arrays may have hundreds or even thousands of panels in them to gather solar power on an industrial scale, and these huge arrays can power entire neighborhoods and city blocks at a time. These arrays tend to be built out in the wilderness where they don’t get in anyone’s way, and as mentioned earlier, they’re often built in sunny and semi-arid regions. this way, cloud cover is unlikely to compromise the system. Today, Texas and California in particular are making good use of their strong sunlight and vast natural expanses to build these arrays.