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Solar Energy

Updated: May 12, 2022

Solar energy is a renewable energy extracted from sun radiation through photovoltaic panels, which transforms it into electricity.

The Sun is a source of renewable energy, that is, a natural resource that is constantly renewed. Solar energy, like other renewable energies, avoids importing fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas to generate electricity, saving the country money and avoiding the emission of greenhouse gases. The Sun annually supplies the Earth with an enormous amount of energy (estimated at 1.5 x 10^18 kWh), corresponding to about 10,000 times the

world consumption of energy verified in the same period.

However, this source is considered too dispersed, with the resulting advantages and

disadvantages. Among the drawbacks, it is undoubtedly worth mentioning the need for large collection surfaces for their use. Its great advantage lies in the fact that it is an equitably distributed source of energy.

In just one second the sun produces more energy (internally) than all the energy used by mankind since the beginning of time. Solar energy can be used directly to heat and light buildings, heat swimming pool water, especially in social facilities, to supply domestic hot

water, services, industry and agriculture. Solar energy also enables the production of high temperatures for process steam production or electricity generation, through radiation concentration technologies. Through the photovoltaic effect, solar radiation is converted into electrical energy.

Benefits of photovoltaic energy

Photovoltaic solar energy can be obtained even on cloudy and rainy days, as the sun's rays constantly reach the atmosphere, even though they are less visible.

There are also other benefits of photovoltaic solar energy that are worth mentioning:

• It is a renewable and sustainable energy, as it uses infinite resources from nature.

• Does not generate waste.

• Allows you to save up to 95% on your electricity bill.

• Photovoltaic panels have a lifespan of more than 20 years, requiring little maintenance.

• Solar radiation is free and abundant.

• Solar plants need little maintenance.

• Solar energy is an excellent solution for remote or difficult-to-access locations, as its small-scale installation does not require large investments in transmission lines.

Disadvantages of Solar Energy

• Energy production is very dependent on the weather situation (cloudy days, rain, snow), in addition to the fact that there is no production during the night, which requires that there are means of storing the energy produced during the day in places where solar panels are not connected to the power transmission grid.

• Locations in mid and high latitudes (eg Finland, Iceland, New Zealand and southern Argentina and Chile) suffer sudden drops in production during the winter months due to the lower daily availability of solar radiation. Locations with frequent cloud cover (London), tend to have daily variations in production according to the degree of cloudiness.

• The ways of storing solar energy are inefficient when compared to fossil fuels (coal, oil and gas) and hydroelectric energy (water).

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