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Solar energy is considered an environmentally friendly source of energy because it comes directly from the sun, and doesn’t involve the burning of fossil fuels. Solar energy is a step toward green energy or rather we can say creating a base for ‘low carbon economy’. Solar (renewable) energy at best can supplement conventional energy like coal, petroleum, gas and others, especially in high energy intensive countries of the world.
The efforts to use 100 percent solar energy for electricity, heating, cooling, and transport are driven by global warming, pollution, and other environmental issues, as well as economic and energy security concerns. Shifting the total global primary energy supply to renewable sources like solar energy requires a transition of the energy system. Renewable energy use has grown much faster than ever expected. The biggest advantages of solar power include the energy independence, quiet energy production, environment friendliness, and its overall cost. But, we cannot ignore the high-initial cost and its dependence on clear weather, it is not always available, and methods of storage and stop-gap are required for when it is cloudy or raining outside.
Nearly half of all new electricity generation in Europe is either from wind or solar energy. Some countries are already working toward phasing-out fossil fuels, apart from U.S. & Europe, countries like India, China, and Brazil are coming in a massive way to shift their conventional source of energy towards solar energy. Germany (including Japan & Russia) being the most prominent example, which gets 15 percent of its energy from Nuclear Power now, wants to phase it out by 2021 with a goal to supply 80 percent of its electricity from renewables by 2050.
In 2014, renewable sources, such as wind, geothermal, solar, biomass, and burnt waste, provided 19 percent of the total energy consumed worldwide, with roughly half of that coming from traditional use of biomass. The most important sector is electricity with a renewable share of 22.8 percent, most of it coming from hydro-power with a share of 16.6 percent, followed by wind with 3.1 percent. There are many places around the world with grids that are run almost exclusively on renewable energy. At the national level, at least 30 nations already have renewable energy contributing, more than 20 percent of energy supply.
The Bio-energy (ethanol from Sugarcane) is also one of the other alternative for the developing countries in view of daily huge garbage disposal problem, human & cattle waste. This will support developing countries due to they are having huge uncultivated/waste land and high population.
The process of converting solar energy into electricity doesn’t directly cause pollution, although the manufacturing of solar panels, their transportation and installation may affect the environment. The overall level of pollution in an area can diminish the effectiveness of solar panels, as high levels of smog and other particulates partially occlude the sun’s rays. The limitations of renewables like Wind and Solar is their irregular nature which requires storage, but storage of power is expensive. Though Solar PV cost is coming down, its efficiency is still around 15 percent at field level. Dust is a big problem in developing countries for wider claim of photovoltaic solar panels.
The solar power made by capturing energy from sunlight. The photovoltaic solar energy is the most common type and is produced when photons contained in sunlight hit a silicon solar panel. The generated electricity is then either transferred directly to the electrical grid or stored in a battery until it’s needed. A benefit of solar energy is its ability to provide electricity to homes and facilities in areas that are not connected to a conventional electric grid. Installing solar panels is less expensive than laying the high-voltage wirelines for connection. The other type of solar energy is called solar thermal, which is made by using the heat from the sun to heat water. The Solar thermal energy can be used to provide hot water for homes, hotels, and swimming pools. There are a number of solar thermal power plants around the world which are using solar energy for converting into thermal energy.
The easiest way to reduce our large-scale carbon footprint is to become a solar energy producing country and replace the traditional use of fossil fuels with solar power which is free given by Mother Nature to mankind on this planet ‘Earth’ where we live. Our transportation is the fastest growing source of CO2 globally. As per International Transport Forum, the world’s car population could reach 2.5 billion by 2050, which clearly shows that 87 million barrels of oil produced globally each day could raise to 120 million barrels.
To overcome from this global problem, the key is to switch to electric cars which is a bigger game-changer on the adverse climate impact of the world’s cars, although all the world’s car manufacturers started electric (battery) cars. According to a survey only in the U.S. in the year 2014, around 119,710 plug-in vehicles (electric cars) were sold-out of 16.5 million totals, and the numbers are smaller around the world. Electric cars are initially expensive, but with the dropping of battery prices, their thrust is likely to increase. Lower-cost and longer range cars, which cost much less to operate than conservative cars, will be attractive to buyers globally.
Making energy-efficient cars will not fulfill the desired goal of reducing carbon emission. But in my view, Mass transportation (Public transportation, metro, tubes and others) is the realistic way forward. The U.S. remains highly auto-centric (Google’s project - driverless cabs), but cities such as Helsinki & Hamburg in Europe, Beijing in China, Tokyo in Japan, and many others have ambitious, technology-aided plans to go car-free, app-based cabs and or bus services, ride sharing, municipal bicycles, and many others.
The App-based aggregator companies ‘Ola-Cabs’ and ‘UBER’ Cab Service providers world-wide already introduced ‘Cabs on Call’ and or ‘Pool a Car,’ which are widely accepted by the general public at large across the World which is a good sign towards shifting of future transport model and a step towards reducing carbon emission. Fundamentally, all the experts agree that the transition to a clean/green energy economy will be difficult but possible. India’s plan to ramp-up solar power generation to 100 GW by 2022 is among the largest in the world. It will help bring sustainable, clean, climate-friendly electricity to millions of Indians.
"India’s plan to ramp-up solar power generation to 100 GW by 2022 is among the largest in the world. It will help bring sustainable, clean, climate-friendly electricity to millions of Indians"
The World Bank Group (WBG) is moving to help India deliver on its unprecedented plans to scale-up solar energy, from installing solar panels on rooftops to setting-up massive solar parks. The WBG is helping India by lending more than $1 billion in FY 2017. This is the WBG’s largest-ever support for solar power in any country. The WBG is also backing the India-led International Solar Alliance which aims to promote solar use globally by mobilizing $1 trillion in investments by 2030.
The world must turn to the sun to power our future India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi said at the historic COP21 climate conference in Paris last year. “As the developing world lifts billions of people into prosperity, our hope for a sustainable planet rests on a bold, global initiative. Unveiling its own bold initiative, India pledged that it would derive at least 40 percent of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2030”.