Solar Energy as a Solution to Carbon Emission and Pollution
Solar energy is derived principally from the sun. It may be used as a source of thermal energy for heating buildings and for heating water among other uses. Besides, solar energy may be converted into electricity with the use of photovoltaic cells. Continuous use of fossil fuels to drive global economies is associated with environmental problems and health problems. Combustion of fossil fuels contributes to the release of greenhouse gases such as CO2 into the atmosphere which in turn results in climate change and global warming. On the other hand, the associated air pollution issues lead to the development of health problems. It is interesting to note that the use of fossil fuels may reduce the functional efficiency of photovoltaic cells owing to carbon particle deposition. Carbon deposition on the surfaces of photovoltaic cells blocks sun rays from reaching the surfaces of the solar cells. Implementation or adoption of solar energy as the main source of energy has several benefits. First of all, it will help mitigate climate change and global warming phenomena. Secondly, its use does not require one to pay monthly charges as compared with mains electricity; although the initial cost of installment may be relatively expensive. The third and fourth beneficial values include the provision of a cheap source of energy for heating homes/building and water and promotion of zero-carbon renewable energy utilization respectively.
Solar Energy as a Solution to Carbon Emission and Pollution
Solar energy is a clean and renewable form of energy. Widespread adoption and use of solar energy presented a solution to global energy issues such as carbon emission, pollution, and overdependence on oil and gas for energy needs. This paper provides evidence to support the argument that solar energy can help reduce pollution rates. Besides, the benefits of using solar energy as compared to the use of other sources of energy are also provided in the discussion below. Use of fossil fuels has resulted in significant environmental effects. Large-scale use of solar energy may help mitigate the environmental impacts associated with the use of fossil fuels since solar energy provides an alternative source of energy that is the readily available, accessible and cheap source of energy that is no negative environmental impacts.
Solar Energy Providing Solutions to Global Pollution and Carbon Emission
Photovoltaic solar electricity is generated when light photons from the sun increase the electron energy levels on a semiconductor. Movement of the energized electrons then creates a current. High-cost installation accounts for the relatively low level of utilization of solar energy in different countries. Introduction of incentives may help the solar energy industry to thrive. Incentives can help increase manufacturing of solar modules in significantly large volumes in that it makes the price of solar modules generally affordable. The current cost of initial installment makes it difficult for the system to pay for itself in terms of electrical savings within a reasonable period of time (Childress, 2011). Solar radiation is easily available and accessible. Solar radiation hits the entire surface of the earth. It can be easily captured and is inexhaustible (Negoitescu & Tokar, 2016). Solar energy should be incentivized to increase its utilization and adoption.
The world needs environmentally friendly fuels. This is provided by solar energy and other forms of energy such as hydropower and wind energy. Solar energy meets the global energy requirements in the modern times which include aspects such as energy renewability and environmental friendliness. Solar energy is a seemingly endless and a cheap resource and is available almost anywhere in the world (Styring, 2012). Conversion of solar energy into electricity is currently a mature form of technology (Inganäs & Sundström, 2016). Solar energy can be improved further to make it more reliable and to shorten the energy pay-back time.
The global energy supply is this lacking as compared to total global energy demands. In 2009, the total global supply of electricity was 140,000 TWh. Of this, 80% was derived from fossil energy. The total energy supply will double by the year 2050 (Styring, 2012). In 2009, the world energy consumption was 16 TW/year in which solar energy reserves were put at a staggering 23,000 TW/year (Inganäs & Sundström, 2016). Refer to Figure 1 below. The world population by 2050 is projected to have reached 10 billion people. There is a great need for the development of renewable sources of energy. The most abundant form source of renewable energy is solar energy that awaits better utilization. Solar energy can act as the leading source of global energy supply if well utilized. In fact, the total solar irradiation per hour is equivalent to the total energy being consumed by the whole world in a year (Styring, 2012). This shows the immense potential of solar energy in serving global energy demands if well harvested, stored and used.
Figure SEQ Figure \* ARABIC 1: A Comparison of Renewable and Finite Planetary Energy Reserves in TW/years
Source (Inganäs & Sundström, 2016).
Innovative storage strategies have been developed. Effective storage can be achieved when energy from sunlight is used to produce a fuel. The storage process tends to mimic photosynthetic processes in plants. Inorganic, organic, and hybrid materials have been identified. Development of efficient direct solar cells with the ability to store sufficient quantities of energy will help increase utilization of solar energy for domestic and industrial use. At the moment hydro-energy and bio-energy are the dominant sources of renewable energy in the world (Inganäs & Sundström, 2016). However, this may change with the development of direct solar fuels.
Solar energy alone can supply all the global energy needs. Refer to Figure 2 below. In the first bar, at the top, the total solar irradiation can supply the total yearly global energy needs as shown in bar three, the bottom bar. Of the total global energy supply in 2009, fuel supplied 83% of the total energy supply while 17% was drawn from electricity as shown in Figure 2. Nuclear energy, hydropower, and other sources of energy remain a minute source of global energy supply as compared to fuel energy. The projection that global energy supply may double by 2050 implies that fossil fuel energy use too may double in the same way (Styring, 2012). However, solar energy may gain more ground and importance in the global energy supply thus reducing the pressure on fossil fuel exploitation.
Figure 2: Global Energy Supply and Future Projections
Source (Styring, 2012).
Concerns on climate change and global warming have contributed to the development of solar fuel research. Solar cells can be conceptualized as artificial photosynthetic modules. Concerns such as national energy security, global warming, and diminishing availability of oil and gas on the global scale have motivated scientists to develop solar cells. A solar fuel stores energy solely from solar energy. Large adoption of solar cells is an effective interventional strategy for helping developing nation meets their total energy needs. Sufficient production of energy needs through the use of solar cells is encourages increased energy use and perhaps initiation of economic growth and development (Styring, 2012). Countries may lack access to oil and gas resources but will often always receive solar energy. It is projected that solar energy will help promote economic and developmental equality in the world since countries may be self-sufficient in terms of energy needs with an effective drawing of energy from the sun. Besides, solar energy is a free resource that can be harvested by anyone.
Core issues attributed to the poor adoption of solar energy should be addressed. These include high-cost of initial installment and energy storage issues. Solar energy may be produced in large and sufficient quantities; however, existing storage devices are relatively inefficient and limited in nature. This reduces the degree of usability and dependency on solar energy as the chief source of energy. The government and the private sector should work together so as to ensure that the cost of solar technology and modules has been reduced to more affordable levels. People from poor backgrounds should be able to purchase and install solar devices and tools for the realization of increased utilization of solar energy and decreased reliance on fossil fuels (Styring, 2012). Solar energy technology should be both affordable and that the storage of solar energy should be more effective and efficient so as to increase its use around the world. This calls for the fast development and production of more efficient solar cells and distribution in the global market.
The price of fossil fuels should be higher as compared to the equivalent price of solar energy. The major problem facing the solar energy industry at the moment is that a fossil fuel prices are lower as compared to solar energy making people go for fossil fuel instead. However, by increasing the price of fossil fuels relative to the price of solar energy will, of course, entice more people to choose solar energy for their energy needs (Styring, 2012).
Carbon Emission and Global Pollution and the Need for Intervention
Non-renewable sources of energy are associated with carbon (IV) oxide (CO2) production. Solar energy can be an alternative means of energy without CO2 emission. The statistics in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) the building sector contributes 4% of the CO2 emissions in the country. Solar energy can provide sufficient energy needs to buildings (Radhi, 2010). There is a consensus in the scientific community that 565 gigatons of CO2 equivalent w...