Solar will be the world’s most popular power source by 2050, that the cost of solar PV technology will fall by 50 percent in the next ten years and that solar will inevitably be the energy source of the future by 2050, one researcher once said.
Though support through feed-in tariffs has almost disappeared throughout the country, Australians have found that Chinese solar panels are the key to installing affordable domestic solar systems. So much so that well over a million of our households are powered by solar systems.
A remarkable achievement. However the dive down the cost curve is a two-edged sword according to some analysts. While the availability of affordable panels has driven the “ground up” Australian solar market from consumers, it has also stymied — even destroyed — the output of Australian PV manufacturers of solar panels . This is not just an Australian phenomenon. With looming trade wars over alleged protectionism from countries such as the United States, who aren’t exactly angels when it comes to subsidising their export industries to gain a competitive edge. Many of course rightly point out the contradiction that China presents when it comes to supporting renewable energy while still being the world’s largest consumer of fossil fuels. The solar will be at the forefront of this technological advance, solar energy is fast becoming more affordable. It is only to be presumed that these savings will be translated to other countries such as Australia who know only too well of the benefit of Chinese solar products. Chinese solar panel When we look at the year ahead for renewable energy, and try to divine the development of the Australian solar market, one of the first conclusions is the importance of neighbouring countries. I’m talking here of the continued role China plays in solar energy in Australia. It’s not an exaggeration to say thatbenfeits of solar power,cheap, quality solar panels from China have driven the domestic demand for solar panels in Australia. Despite wide open spaces for solar farms and abundant sun, Australia is lagging behind the rest of the world in renewable energy. We haven’t take your rightful position as one of the leaders in the world in developing large scale renewable energy as we should. The misconception is that we “punch above our weight” in all issues from international diplomacy, to sporting fixtures, to energy policy. However true this may be for other areas, it lacks credibility when it comes to renewable energy and climate policy. Here we’re content to sit back and allow the world to take the lead, it appears, with the modest gains of previous governments swept aside.
Just why do we need to develop alternative energy sources … and what options do we have?
Round about 95% of the World’s energy demands – in other words, our electricity, heating and transport – are derived from fossil fuels, such as coal, oil and gas.
Do you know why they’re called fossil fuels? Well, it’s because they’ve been formed from the organic remains of prehistoric animals and plants.
Unfortunately, these fuels pollute the atmosphere terribly with carbon dioxide, thus contributing to global warming and the greenhouse effect. On top of that, they’re unsustainable fuels, meaning that, eventually, the sources will be used up.
So, our aim nowadays is to find and develop other sources of energy. Sources which first of all, do not pollute the atmosphere and, secondly, which are sustainable. In other words, clean, renewable energy, sourced from fuels which will not run out.
Fortunately, we have a number of options open to us when it comes to developing alternative energy, for example:
• solar energy
• wind power
• wave and tidal power
• biomass power
• geothermal energy
Nuclear power is also an alternative to fossil fuels and which is low in carbon dioxide. However, it does produce highly toxic, hazardous waste, and is not a renewable source of energy, for its fuel – uranium – is finite.
But, let’s take a closer look at the various renewable energy options.
Perhaps the best-known form of renewable energy, the sun’s rays are focused onto solar panels full of photovoltaic cells and converted into usable electricity.
Wind farms have as their advantage the fact that they’re extremely quick to build, with modern-day wind turbines harnessing the strong power of the wind to generate electricity.
Wave and Tidal Power
Very much in the early stages of development, the immense power of crashing waves is harnessed to provide a clean form of energy.
Underwater turbines known as tidal stream generators also use the power created by changing tides to provide energy.
With this, biological materials from living or recently living organisms, such as trees, grass, agricultural and urban waste, are converted into an energy source.
The inside of the Earth is tremendously hot. Geothermal energy involves tapping into this heat and converting it into electricity.
As you can see, we certainly don’t lack options when it comes to finding forms of renewable energy. It’s now well-past the time for us all to follow the fine examples of such countries as Sweden and Finland, and make a determined effort to develop and use alternative energy sources.
About Author: Erwin Mackintosh is creator of Alternative-Energy-Concepts.com where you’ll discover interesting information about alternative energy sources.
By: Erwin Mackintosh