When you think about the energy from the sun, you usually think about the light from the sun, or solar energy. Sunlight is used for lighting and heating a residence or other type of building, It can heat water for hot water generated heat and be use in many commercial and industrial purposes.
Other sources of renewable depend on the sun, too. When you think about it, you realize that the heat from the sun is the driving force behind the wind. As turbines harvest the energy of the winds to be used as a power source to generate electricity, it has the sun to thank.
Hydroelectric power is also a result of the power of the sun. Water evaporated because of a combination of the winds and the heat from the sun. The water vapor turns to snow or rain and travels downhill where it flows into streams and rivers. The energy of the flowing water is captured and it becomes hydroelectric power. Even the organic matter that we use for fuels owes its existence to the sun. The biomass that makes up the plants we burn for heat wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for the light of the sun. The type of renewable energy resulting from the plant matter is called bioenergy.
The organic matter that depends on the light from the sun also harbours hydrogen, another source of renewable energy. Hydrogen is the most abundant element found on this planet. It its natural state, it isn’t a gas. It mixes with an element like oxygen and makes water, and when the elements are separated the hydrogen is available to be converted to electricity or be burned as a fuel.
The next time you think about the sun as being a source of alternative fuel and renewable power, don’t confine your thoughts to the solar panels that you see on so many rooftops. The heat and the light from the sun are responsible for many of the energy sources that are available to us today.
Even ocean energy that is generally attributed to the tides caused by the gravitational pull of the moon is in fact dependent upon the sun. Both the pull of the sun and moon on the earth cause the tides. And the wind and the tides combined cause the energy that we harvest from the waves of the ocean.
This post is part of a series on the Thamesgate Blog. For more information on renewable energy solutions see our website.
Written by Nick Watkins.
Posted in Renewable Energy