For many years, mankind has depended on non-renewable energy sources that have steadily dwindled in supply. Fossil fuels have been diminishing, coal mining is hotly debated and new, safer sources of energy have been in high demand. Fortunately, the renewable energy industry is continually growing and researchers have found several forms of energy that could significantly reduce the population’s carbon footprint. While there are multiple options available for business and residential power, some are more optimal than others — here are the top 3 sources of renewable power.
Solar energy captures light from the sun and converts it into power via photovoltaic panels. These panels are usually made with some kind of crystalline silicon layer that captures the sunlight and topped with a sheet of glass or plexiglass; they can capture sunlight from almost anywhere outside but are most commonly installed on the roofs of buildings or in standalone panel fields. One of the major benefits of solar power is that constant sunlight is not needed to continuously produce energy. In fact, solar panels typically only need about four hours of steady light exposure to work at full capacity for twenty-four hours.
Trapped below the surface of planet Earth is untapped potential in the form of extreme heat, which serves as the foundation for this revolutionary form of energy. Currently, there are two major types of power plants that use geothermal energy in different ways: geothermal power plants harness large volumes of hot water from deep underground, pumping the water to the surface where it turns into steam and spins a turbine that powers a generator. Geothermal heat pumps are similar, but instead cycle water or coolant through the earth to absorb heat, subsequently looping it back to the surface to warm homes and water sources.
One of the earliest forms of renewable energy to be implemented, this form of energy takes advantage of frequent winds, which power turbines connected to generators. Turbines can be built upward or downward-facing to maximize efficiency in regards to wind direction, and many newer models can function even at low wind speeds — smaller-scale wind turbines can produce lower amounts of power with 5-mph winds, while some of the largest can harness energy from winds of up to 55-mph.
While the energy crisis has been a longstanding concern, there is hope for new sources of clean, safe energy. As these renewable sources of energy become more commonplace, mankind has a chance to make a shift to solely depending on renewable power.