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Solar Power: One of the Most Impactful Renewable Energies To Combat Climate Change

Several innovative technologies, such as solar power, wind power, green hydrogen power, electric vehicles, etc., have the potential to significantly impact mitigating climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, increasing energy efficiency, and promoting sustainable practices. In this essay, I am going to talk about solar power and how it may be one of the most impactful renewable energies to combat climate change.

Before we start diving into a deeper description of solar power, let us find out what climate change is and its causes. Climate change refers to long-term shifts in temperatures and weather patterns. These shifts may be natural, due to changes in the sun’s activity or large volcanic eruptions. But since the 1800s, human activities have been the main driver of climate change, primarily due to the burning of fossil fuels like coal, oil, and gas. Climate change is mainly caused by greenhouse gas emissions blanketing the earth; they trap the sun’s heat. This led to global warming and climate change. The world is now warming faster than at any point in recorded history. Some of the causes of climate change are:

Generating power: Generating electricity and heat by burning fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas causes a large chunk of global emissions. Most electricity is still produced from fossil fuels; only about a quarter comes from wind, solar, and other renewable sources.

Manufacturing goods: Manufacturing and industry produce emissions, mostly from burning fossil fuels to produce energy for making things like cement, iron, steel, electronics, clothes, and other goods. Mining and other industrial processes also release gases.

Cutting down forests: Cutting down forests to create farms or pastures, or for other reasons, causes emissions, since trees- when they are cut- release the carbon they have been storing. Since forests absorb carbon dioxide, destroying them also limits nature’s ability to keep emissions out of the atmosphere.

Using Transportation: Most cars, trucks, ships, and planes run on fossil fuels. That makes transportation a major contributor of greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide emissions. Road vehicles account for the largest part, but emissions from ships and planes continue to grow.

Producing food: Producing food requires energy to run farm equipment or fishing boats, usually with fossil fuels. Growing crops can also cause emissions, like when using fertilizers and manure. Cattle produce methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. Emissions also come from packaging and distributing food.

Solar power: As I mentioned above, solar power is one of the best renewable energies that can mitigate greenhouse gas emissions in our environment. Let us delve into the definition, history, electricity production process, and environmental benefits of solar power. Solar power is a renewable energy source derived from the sun’s radiation. It is harnessed using solar photovoltaic (PV) panels or solar thermal systems to convert sunlight into electricity or heat.  Solar energy was used by humans as early as the 7th century B.C. when humans used sunlight to light fires by reflecting the sun’s rays onto shiny objects. Later, in the 3rd century B.C., the Greeks and Romans harnessed solar power with mirrors to light torches for religious ceremonies. In 1839, at the age of just 19, French physicist Edmond Becquerel discovered the photovoltaic (PV) effect while experimenting with a cell made of metal electrodes in a conducting solution. He noted that the cell produced more electricity when it was exposed to light – it was a photovoltaic cell.

In 1954, PV technology was born when Daryl Chapin, Calvin Fuller, and Gerald Pearson developed the silicon PV cell at Bell Labs which was the first solar cell capable of absorbing and converting enough of the sun’s energy into power to run everyday electrical equipment. Today, satellites, and spacecraft orbiting Earth are powered by solar energy.

Electricity Production Process: Solar panels are usually made from silicon or another semiconductor material installed in a metal panel frame with a glass casing. When this material is exposed to photons of sunlight (very small packets of energy) it releases electrons and produces an electric charge.

This PV charge creates an electric current (specifically, direct current or DC), which is captured by the wiring in solar panels. This DC electricity is then converted to alternating current (AC) by an inverter. AC is the type of electrical current used when you plug appliances into normal wall sockets.

Environmental Benefits of Solar Power:

Solar power generation produces electricity without emitting greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O). Unlike fossil fuel-based power plants, which release large amounts of CO2 and other pollutants when burning coal, oil, or natural gas, solar power harnesses energy directly from sunlight, resulting in virtually zero emissions during operation. By generating electricity from sunlight, solar power reduces the need to burn fossil fuels for energy production. This reduces the demand for coal, oil, and natural gas, which are major sources of CO2 emissions and air pollution. Shifting away from fossil fuels and gearing towards renewable energy sources like solar helps to decarbonize the energy sector and mitigate the impacts of climate change.

 Finally: Solar power is the best renewable energy source currently available for mitigating climate change. We can all do our part to reduce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions and move closer to a cleaner future by relying less on fossil fuels and more on renewable alternatives.

Image: https://atlantickeyenergy.com/expert-insight-into-residential-solars-impact-on-climate-change

Sources:

https://www.un.org/en/climatechange/science/key-findings#physical-science

https://www.nationalgrid.com/stories/energy-explained/how-does-solar-power-work

 https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/solar-energy-vs-fossil-fuel-choosing-better-option-navitassolar/

 

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  1. This essay presents an informative discussion dedicated to solar power and its potential to mitigate climate change. At the beginning, this essay briefly explains what climate change is, its causes and development, and the various human activities that contribute to greenhouse gas emissions such as manufacturing, forestry, transportation, and food production.

    Because of climate change, we’re not only getting more inflammation and rising sea levels, but also changing precipitation patterns, stronger hurricanes, and longer growing seasons. Most people believe that we can soon restore the climate to what it was 200 years ago by reducing carbon emissions to the levels that existed in the 1850s. But, according to the Royal Society, “even if greenhouse gas emissions suddenly stopped, the Earth’s surface temperature would take thousands of years to cool and return to pre-industrial levels.”

    Therefore, I think expanding the use of solar energy is one of the steps we should follow to adapt and mitigate climate change. As the authors stated, “Solar energy harnesses energy directly from sunlight and produces virtually zero emissions during operation.” Also, some of the benefits you get from using solar panels include lower electricity costs. savings, reduced maintenance costs, and ease of installation.

    Overall, this article effectively represents the importance of switching to renewable energy sources such as solar energy to reduce the demand for fossil fuels and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Concluding remarks highlight the importance of embracing solar energy as a viable solution to combating climate change and moving towards a cleaner future.

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