The Future is Bright

A Proposal for Solar Energy

What is it?

Solar energy: radiant energy that is produced by the Sun

Solar energy is a renewable energy source that can be harnessed by human beings through either passive ways such as simply facing a building towards the sun, or active ways such as using photo-voltaic cells to convert the energy into electricity for our everyday lives. The technique discussed here will primarily concern photo-voltaic cells. Solar energy has seen a surge of popularity over the last decade and can power anything from calculators to stores to even entire cities.

What are photo-voltaic cells?

A photo-voltaic cell (also known as solar cell) is a device that is able to convert light energy directly into electricity. Although on the outside solar cells seem fairly simple, they are actually very intricate and operate on an atomic level. The electric current is created as a result of electrons being released when a a semi-conductor material, such as silicon, absorbs energy from light. This is called the photoelectric effect. The electrons that are released are now allowed to flow freely to form an electrical current. The electric field formed will cause a voltage and together, we have power. Because silicon is very shiny and reflects many photons as opposed to absorbing them, a anti-reflective coating is used so more can be absorbed. On the very outside a glass plate is installed to protect the cells for nature.

Pros

  • No pollution (a solar park can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 20 000 tonnes per year)
  • Sunny areas will no longer be reliant on fossil fuels which need to be transported
  • Doesn't cost anything after installation
  • Requires little to no maintenance
  • Many governments offer rebates and tax breaks for users of solar power
  • Can be implemented almost anywhere
  • No noise pollution


Cons

  • Only works when the sun is shining (no energy is produced when it is cloudy or dark)
  • Relatively inefficient (highest efficiency recorded is 40.7%)
  • Requires a high initial investment in the solar panels ( $25000-$30000 for an average house)
  • Affected by air pollution


Solar Power in Glenforest

Forests make use of solar energy through photosynthesis and are a huge part in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Glenforest should stay true to its roots and take our first step in saving the environment. Although our school can not perform photosynthesis, we can implement the next best thing, SOLAR POWER! Although having a high initial cost, Glenforest has a massive roof that can be exploited for the purpose of produce solar energy. Also, pollution is relatively light and there are no large buildings in the nearby area to block out the sun. By implementing solar energy in our school, we will reduce operating costs, greenhouse emissions, and damage to the environment.


We must go towards the light.

The future is bright.

Why stay in the dark?