Solar Energy


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Solar Energy Essay, Research Paper

A Primitive Resource:

Solar Energy and Its Many Uses

Ever since the dawn of time, the sun has been a resource we cannot live

or do without, so its not such a shock that man has come up with the

idea of solar energy. Solar energy had many uses. Some can be dangerous and

some, a very valuable asset to the modern world.

Solar energy is energy derived from the sun in a form of ultra-violet rays.

Its was first applied to use in 212 B.C., by the Greek genius Archimedes. Solar

energy was used to defend the habor of Syracuse against the Roman fleet.

Archimedes used a mirror or ?burning mirror? as they had called it, to set fire to

the ships of the Roman fleets while standing on shore (McDaniels 83). It wasn?t

until 1615 when Salomon de Caux constructed the first solar device; a solar

engine. His device was made of glass lenses, supporting frame, and an airtight

metal vessel containing water and air. This produced a small water fountain when

the air heated up during operation. This was considered to be more of a toy than

a device, but it was the first published account of the use of solar energy since the

fall of the Roman Empire (Cheremisinoff 1).

Some other use of solar energy after that was the solar roof and the solar

oven. The solar roof was thought up by Harold Hay. In a solar roof system, water

is contained in a clear plastic bag and it is placed on a black metal roof. Hay got

the idea while traveling in India on a technical aid mission for the U.S government.

While there, he noticed that many people were living in rusty, sheet metal shacks,

which were hot in the day and cold at night. Hay?s plan was to remove the

insulation from the roof on winter days so that the roof would get hot, and

Replacing the insulation at night to allow the shack to be warm through the night.

Then in the summer, he would so the reverse of what he did in winter to let the

house cool at night and replacing the insulation in the daytime to block out the

heat. Then over the years, Hay and a man named John Yellott constructed a 3- by

3.7-m building using water basins as the actual roofing material. During the

summer, a slab of foam insulation was rolled back at night, and the water would

become cold through the night sky evaporation. Since the water supply sat

directly on a metal ceiling, it absorbed the heat from the room and kept the

building air-conditioned all day. During the winter, the movable insulation was

rolled back in the daytime which allowed for it to collect heat. This generated

enough heat into the house through the ceiling at night to keep the room

comfortable (McDaniels 179-181).

Then there was the solar cooker. Developed by Augustin Mouchot in France

and by John Ericsson in the United States in the nineteenth century. They wanted

to develop a solar cooker that not only reached high temperatures, but also was to

be used as a means of heat storage enabling food to be cooked after sundown.

Mouchot built a solar steam engine that operated a printing press in Paris in

1882. In the United States, John Ericsson invented what he called the

?Ericsson-cycle? which was a hot-air engine for the making of solar heat. The

sun?s rays would be concentrated with the use of a parabolic reflector, which was

designed to track the sun across the sky in order to keep a constant power output.

(McPhillips 86-89)

There was also the solar oven. In 1837, and astronomer from England

named John Fredrick Herschel introduced to the world a solar oven. He built a

small solar oven while on a trip to Africa?s Cape of Good Hope. He constructed it

as a mahogany, painted it black and buried it in the sand for purposes of

insulation. a doubled-glazed cover, which was the only portion of the oven left

exposed, serve to limit heat losses through the top, while at the same time, letting

in sunlight. The maximum temperature of the oven was of about 240 degree F

and it was used throughout his expedition by him and his staff to cook both meat

and vegetables (Regino 5).

Not all solar energy inventions and discoveries were good. Some

solar energy is dangerous. One for example would be lasers. Laser, an

electromagnetic wave that is made up of excited atoms. It produces coherent light.

This means that the light produced is orderly, with all the excited atoms making

up the laser beam that is emitting their flashes in unison. The laser often consist

of polished ruby rod that has a solid mirror at one end, and a high voltage flash

tube wound around the rod. The flash tube acts as the power source for the laser

beam and the energy that is emitted as pulse is visible light (Holsroemn 12-14).

Another dangerous solar energy is Ultra-violet rays. Ultra-violet rays is also

referred to as UV rays for short. They are energy rays that is given off from the

sun. UV rays were first discovered by astronomers in the 1960?s. It can be

dangerous because too much rays can cause you to sun burn, tan, damages your

hair, and at the worst; skin cancer. You can get skin cancer if your are not careful

about how to spend and protect yourself from the sun. One way to protect

yourself is by applying sun tan lotion to your skin every time that you plan on

spending a lot of time in the sun, especially if you are going to the beach. To be on

the safe side for sure, you should apply it everytime you are in the sun. (Rose

123-125).

There is basically a lot of solar powered inventions in our society today.

Like in our household, there are many solar equipment. There is the solar

heating, solar satellite, solar water heating, solar cooling, solar radio, solar

battery, etc. As you can see, there are so many solar items in the world so solar is

an important source. (Holstroemn 182).

We believe that solar energy is worth it. It is a good thing that our planet

has so many ways of generating energy. We have electricity, solar power, nuclear

power, propane, so many! We think that out of all the choice of energy, we prefer

solar. Why you ask, because think of what will happen when we lose all of our

other source of energy. The sun is always here for us. Solar energy is the only

energy source that can not be controlled. We could lose all of our electricity and

still live because we can live off of solar power. You don?t need electricity or gas to

power your stove because when there is a storm, the power can be knocked out

and you wouldn?t have to worry if you have furniture that were powered by solar.

Every other power source can be destroyed but the greatest power of all is the sun.

This is one power source that can always be depended on. The best part about

solar energy is that it is free. It can last forever.

In a poll that we had conducted around our neighborhood, we found that

only five percent of the people on our street have solar powered products. This is

very surprising to me. We had expected the average to be somewhat higher. Mrs.

Richard is one of the person who we asked that had solar products such as: solar

battery and solar heating. She believes that everyone should at least give solar

products a try because you can always depend on it when you need it. Other

people like Mr. Pham said that there is no use to solar power because when the

sky is cloudy, there is no sun to power any of the solar product. He prefers to

stick to electricity. People have different ways of looking at solar energy so its up

to them if they want sun energy or electricity. Who knows, maybe one day,

everyone will agree on using solar energy. As for us, we still prefer solar over

electricity any day.

Cheremisinoff, Pual N. Principles & Applications Of Solar Energy. Ann Arbor

Science Publishers: Michigan, 1979.

Holstroemn, Isaac R. Energy From The Sun. Tab Books, Inc: Pennsylvania,

1981.

McDaniels, David K. The Sun. John Wiley & Sons, Inc: Canada, 1984.

McPhillips, Martin. The Solar Energy. Everest House: New Yrok, 1983.

Regino, Thomas C. Solar Energy. St. Martin?s Press, Inc: New Yrok, 1986.

Rose, Harvey. Solar Energy Now. Ann Arbor Science Publishers:1982.

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