Essay on Solar Energy

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Solar Energy

Solar energy is the most ancient kind of energy found on earth, for it is as old as the sun. "Solar" means from the sun. The earth is only one of the many planets which is bathed in the sun's overflowing energy. Every second the world receives 95.8 trillion watts of power…just think about that for a minute. Think about how much power the earth just received in the time it took you to read this sentence? It is well beyond the amount of power used in one day. It has the potential to satisfy all our energy needs forever without ever having to use the pollutive fossil fuels ever again. "The problem however, does not lie in the limited source, as do fossil fuels, but in harnessing
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In the 1690's an Italian scientist invented a solar furnace that was so hot it could shatter a diamond, one of the hardest substances on earth (Asimov 119).
The real question around the beginning of the 19th century concerning solar energy was "could the sun produce electricity directly?" The main motivation behind this desire was that electricity could be stored in a battery, and used later. It would not be necessary to use the device in the sunlight. All inventions failed, until Frank Shuman, an engineer from Pennsylvania finally made a breakthrough. He built an experimental plant that used black troughs covered in glass with a few inches of water. When exposed to the sun, the water got very hot, causing it to circulate and power an electric generator. His data was so convincing that he got financial backers and built the world's first solar electric power plant in Egypt. However, the Eastern Sun Power Company went out of business even though it was using free fuel. It didn't produce enough electricity for the area that it used, 14,000 sq. ft of sun-collecting land (Zweibel 48).
In 1954 Bell Laboratories invented the first photovoltaic (or solar) cell, made from the semi-conductor silicon, and other elements. It was the first way to convert sunlight directly into electricity. When the space program was launched in the 60's, it

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