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The amount of solar energy that hits the earth is equal to the electrical output of 1 million Hoover Dams. The solar power from the sun powers our planet, warms the oceans, and is converted to food and fuel. In the face of the dwindling oil supplies that are locked in political debate, solar is a viable alternative.


The next 10 years will produce several economic advantages for the use of solar energy as an alternative energy source.
The solar energy that is used directly by plants to drive chemical reactions needs to be converted to heat or electricity to meet man's needs. Solar energy can be used as a source of heat by heating a liquid that is exposed to the sun and pumping it through a house for heating, or as a source for heat in a steam turbine electrical generator. Solar energy can also be converted to electricity by the use of photovoltaic cells. These cells are plates made of material that emit electrons when contacted by the sun's rays. The electricity is then stored in batteries for future use or used to charge the batteries on an electric car. While it is a fairly simple task to directly heat a home by direct solar heat, the future of solar power lies in developing low cost photovoltaic cells and batteries.
The new politics of 'Green Power' have given solar energy more support throughout society and its widespread application could fundamentally change how we work and live. Currently, solar energy costs about $12 per watt or $20,000 for a system adequate enough to power a typical home, which equates to 30 cents per kilowatt hour or 2-5 times the average residential electricity rate (Solar Energy Costs/Prices, 2006). ...
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