Have you ever imagined why life exists on the Earth?
Do you know why we feel more energetic on a sunny day than a rainy day or cloudy day?
Do you know why the Hindus worship the Sun?
In scientific and geographic terms Sun is none other than a “star” that is composed of gases. In general, the Sun is defined as a burning ball of gases.
The existence of life on the earth is mainly dependent of two things – Water and Earth’s atmosphere.
Now the question arises, what makes the Earth’s atmosphere so special?
Answer is, “The Sun“. The Earth’s atmosphere exists like this only due to the solar energy. The energy that the Earth receives from the Sun is called solar energy. Since we receive this energy in the form of radiation, it is also known as solar radiation. Call it sunlight, solar energy or solar radiation – all are the same.
Its not that we receive the whole energy that is emitted by the Sun. Due to the distance between the Sun and the Earth, only one-tenth of the radiation reaches the Earth and this one-tenth of the solar energy is enough for the existence of life on the Earth.
How is Solar Energy Created?
As already mentioned, solar energy is created by the Sun. The process by which solar energy is created is called nuclear fusion. Nuclear fission is a process where two atoms collide or fuse to form a different atom. Solar energy is created when proton particles of hydrogen atoms fuse to form a helium atom. This is a chain reaction that emits tremendous amount of energy.
Can you list the processes that take place on the Earth only due to the Solar radiation?
Let me help you – the most important process of food making by plants (photosynthesis) is possible only due to sunlight. This in turn, is responsible for the growth of plants, food chain, presence of oxygen in the atmosphere and what not.
Another process is evaporation of water which in turn enters the water cycle also takes place due to solar radiation.
Changes in the amount of solar radiation that the Earth receives are responsible for the different weather types and climates in different parts of the Earth.
Why different parts of the Earth receive different amount of solar energy?
This is because of 3 reasons:
- The Earth’s inclination
- Different Sun’s activities
- The processes occurring in the Earth’s system
Winds and ocean currents are also formed due to the solar radiation that the earth receives.
In short, heating and cooling of air, water and land, all happens due to the solar radiation.
Benefits of Solar Energy
There are various uses of solar energy. It is an alternate source of energy that has many advantages over other energy sources.
- Solar energy is clean
- Solar energy is cheap.
- Solar energy is enormous.
- Solar energy is renewable.
- Solar energy can be stored.
Solar Energy is Clean: Solar energy is considered clean as it does not produce any waste. It does not pollute the environment in any way. Solar energy is a clean form of energy generator. The electricity generated from the solar energy do not produce any greenhouse gases.
The solar panels used to produce energy do not generate any waste or any greenhouse gases. This is why electricity generated from solar energy is considered green. Thus, solar energy is also called as “green source of energy”.
Solar Energy is Cheap: As earth receives significant amount of solar energy, it can be easily harnessed and used for electricity generation. Energy generated from solar energy is considered cheap from that generated from fossil fuels. It is more cost effective than the regular electricity production.
Solar Energy is Enormous: The solar energy received by earth is enormous. The solar energy can be used to produce enormous amount of electrical energy or thermal energy. We receive abundance of sunlight in most part of the world.
Solar Energy is Renewable: Unlike fossil fuel, solar energy is renewable as the Sun is always available for us and sunlight will always reach the earth.
Solar Energy Can Be Stored: This is again an advantage of solar energy. There are solar batteries that store the solar energy for later use. The solar batteries are present in the solar panel. These batteries harness the solar energy and then store it for future use.
The major disadvantage of solar energy is that we have to depend upon the sunlight. It is difficult to harness solar energy during night time and during rainy seasons.
What are your views on this topic? Can you imagine our lives without the Sun? I don’t think, we can.