How Solar Energy is Changing the World Around You
By Hannah Whittenly
Solar energy has the power to save big money over the lifespan of the solar device — over $30,000 in place. And with some locations around the world getting as many of 5.5 or more hours of sun a day, it’s a cheap, effective way to heat up and light up a community. But solar energy does more than keep the lights on in solar-friendly communities. Here are four ways that solar power is changing the world around you.
1. Water Desalination
So we’re pretty sure that you won’t want to drink sea water, not even if it has ice in it. But you might change your mind if that same sea water had gone through the desalination process. And as it turns out, one of the most interesting innovations in solar energy is in the area of solar desalination, according to the website Tech.co. What’s more, these solar anti-salt machines can use the sun’s ultraviolet rays to disinfect and purify the sea water, too!
2. Solar-Powered Roads
Did you know that your cars and your bikes could get some extra juice from Mr. Sun when you’re out on the road? The tempered glass surface of these roads measure about a centimeter in thickness. The stretch of the roads, especially across open plains and deserts, maximize the power of the sun’s rays each day, making your ride all the cleaner and healthier as you cruise along.
3. Portable Solar Power
Disaster strikes around the world with alarming if not expected regularity. One of the things that is most devastating to areas that have been hit by disasters like tornadoes or earthquakes is the loss of power. But now, solar power in the form of portable solar power has come to the rescue.
Thus far, this type of energy has brought mobile charging stations to disaster relief workers and turned the lights back on after earthquakes. And next on the horizon are solar-powered 3D-printers that can help medical staff print much needed medical instruments on the spot. In this case, solar power literally has the ability to extend the life of people in the community and get things rolling again after disaster has struck.
4. Perovskite vs. Silicon
The latest in solar technology isn’t necessarily the panels that you put on your roof to make your home solar powered: It’s the materials used to make said solar panels: perovskite, a solar sensitive mineral that comes from Mother Earth’s mantle. Most photovoltaics are made from silicon, and their expense can make them impractical for some projects. Perovskite is less expensive than silicon, and even if you already have silicon solar panels, Perovskite can be added to them at a small cost. This way, solar panel companies are able to produce this product in a much more affordable manner so that the average person could invest in it for their home.
Solar energy and innovations have come a long way. While their ability to bring light and heat to your home and office still ranks high among its uses, solar power has really morphed in recent years. From desalinating salt water to providing power to disaster struck areas around the globe, solar power has come into its own and become the Superman of renewable energy sources. Savvy environmentalists and shrewd business people alike will benefit from the advances in solar power in the coming years. And with innovations like solar-powered roads and better solar materials, this energy source is bound to be in more places more often as the future stretches on.