Energy from the Sun

This time we are taking a look at solar energy.

It is one of the six renewable energy sources and it is indeed limitless. It is renewable, C02 free and has low operating costs. Unlike fossil fuels, it won’t run out anytime soon.

We get a lot of it from the sun, yet 30% is reflected back to space, 15% absorbed by the clouds, 34% is absorbed by the ocean, and the tax authorities take additional 5%, leaving us only, wow, 16%.

Is that a lot? Well, sit down boys and girls, because you are about to hear something cool. Those 16% of solar energy reaching the surface for one year are about twice as mush as we will ever get from all of Earths non-renewables like coal, oil, natural gas and uranium.

Yes, look at this map here. The theoretical area of the small black dots is sufficient to supply the worlds total energy needs with solar power (which is 18 TW).

You can even disinfect water! Put it in plastic bottles (the PET), expose it to sunlight for several hours and voila! Yup, the UV light kills the treacherous micro villains in the water

What you need to know is that there are two types of Solar technologies - active and passive.

Passive solar harvesting is orienting a building towards the sun, selecting the right materials with favorable thermal mass and designing spaces that naturally circulate air.

Active solar is mainly the use of solar panels.

How is it done?

Photovoltaic cells in a solar panel turn sunlight into direct current electricity (DC). Then, an inverter converts the DC electricity into alternating current electricity (AC), and once this process has taken place, the electricity is used, fed into the grid or stored in a battery.

You may see different types.

- Monocrystalline - has black sells, it is the cheap type.

- While the polycrystalline has many different crystals and will appear blue. And efficient.

The cost depends on the number of panels and how/where they are installed, but generally, solar power is becoming more affordable every year.

Solar increases property value. When you install it, your resell price is higher. Yet it can cost you on average 18 000 dollars to equip your whole house with enough solar panels.

You can also concentrate the solar energy into a receiver with the use of mirrors and lenses. This mostly works as a thermal energy source, since the concentrated sunlight is mostly very hot. It is mostly efficient in dry, high-altitude areas in the tropics and can get powerful enough to fry a bird mid-flight. What? Apparently, yes - that is one of the main concerns. The sunlight attracts the insects, the insect attract the birds, the birds attract raptors and they all burn faster than anything else.

There are some cars on the market that are solar powered, we will talk about those in later reports if you are interested, let us know.

Any additions? Let us know!

Let’s continue our exploration of renewable technologies together.

So do remember to subscribe and check out our Patreon channel ( for awesome travel logs from Sudan, Namibia and other cool places. You are going to love them.

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