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The Bright Future of Solar Engineering Power Part Three

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Making solar energy economical may be the single biggest environmental accomplishment of human existence since the Industrial Revolution. The fundamental stages and applications of solar engineering have evolved quickly over the previous decade.

The refutations of solar opponents that the process is too complex has also been debunked recently. Gavin Harper created an entire book of experiments that can be done in the home for solar energy testing. Simple examples of inverters made easy allow nearly anyone to understand how solar energy can be created and used (Harper, 102).

Gaining this increase in knowledge presented base line foundations for creating better tools. These better tools now raised the ceiling on capabilities. Energy companies and governments should then understand that the solar cells of silicon that operate at roughly 10 to 20 percent (NAE) today can be made more efficient through funded research and development. The ethical obligations to explore futures in solar energy are argued well by Geoffrey Hammond in his work for the International Journal of Energy Research. Hammond coins the term, “improvement potential”, which is a great summation of the ideals of solar production (86). The link between resource utilization and reduction in pollution emissions is a tremendous motivating factor that should push our ethical buttons to continue to look at how to implement the potentials of solar power in the future.

Employing solar technology wherever possible in the future is a way to also combine economic gain with social development. New energy means new jobs and sometimes the thought of loss of jobs for current energy production specialists will not translate. Many of the same skilled workers could find positions doing the same or similar job functions in the solar arena. Geoffrey Hammond states several times over in his journalistic research that the United Kingdom has already seen a spike in new energy jobs that has picked up many of the unemployed as a result of the European recession of the mid 2000’s (14).

For the argument that the sun is not strong enough alone to power anything greater than a light bulb there are new additions in the area of passive solar energy use. This category describes non mechanical systems that include using sunshine, shading, and breezing to help heat or cool spaces with little or no help from electricity controls (Thurmann, 345).

One example are the new line of vehicles including the 2011 Toyota Prius which employs this technology to cool and heat your vehicle to an agreeable internal temperature automatically using solar panels that are installed on the roof of the vehicle. This system kicks on automatically to keep the internal temperature of the car within about a 12 degree comfort range (Toyota). This same mechanism could be used in homes to nearly eliminate the need for central heating and air which is often one of the greatest electrical expenses of home ownership. This is just one type of passive system. Other methods of glazing, Thermosyphon hot water systems, and clerestory windows can all help aid the efficiency of energy use at home and for industrial purposes (348).


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Jerry Walch
Posted on Apr 21, 2011

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Danny Hauger

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