Intersection of technology and sustainability: Solar power
|Topics:||Solar Energy, Climate Change, Engineering, Environmental Issues, Innovation|
Table of Contents
Summary of the research technology (member 1)
Solar power refers to a clean and green source of energy created from either the heat from the sun or sunlight. The solar power technology converts energy from the sun into electricity directly using photovoltaics or indirectly through the use of concentrated solar power. In some cases, the technology combines both techniques to enhance the efficiency and reliability of the energy. Solar power presents numerous advantages that promise to solve most of the contemporary problems arising from the ever-growing demand for power. First, the heat and energy from the sun are both free and unlimited (Morshed & Abdulsalam, 2016). Some parts of the world like deserts receive infinite sunlight every day of the year. The source of energy does not emit any harmful wastes like greenhouses gasses. Solar power is also equally versatile.
The application of the solar power technology includes daylighting which remains the oldest application of the source of energy. Daylighting refers to the technique of collecting and distributing daylight effectively to illuminate buildings (Lovegrove, 2012). The utilization of the technology requires systemic architectural considerations to ensure adequate illumination without heating up the house. Using solar to light a house improve the efficient use of energy thus improving the sustainability of a building. The second application of solar power is the solar thermal technologies. The technology entails the use of solar energy to heat water both for domestic and commercial use. It also includes using the energy to either heat or cool spaces. The final application of solar energy is the generation of electric power. The technology converts solar power into electricity. The three applications of solar energy are critical in the debate surrounding the use of energy and sustainability since they offer clean and renewable alternatives that can meet the global demand thereby eliminating problems like environmental pollution and climate change among others.
Sources and their validity (member 2)
The study will employ multiple scholarly sources. Solar power technology is an interesting academic and technological field that has attracted the interest of multiple scholars who have researched and developed materials regarding the suitability of the technology. The study will thus borrow from books; peer-reviewed journals and news articles from other sources. Some of the key sources are in the annotated bibliography below.
Kaushika, N. D., Kaushik, K., & Reddy, K. S. (2016). Sustainable Energy and the Environment: A Clean Technology Approach. Springer International Publishers.
The book discusses the intricate aspects of sustainable sources of energy including the sun. The authors explain the various uses and application of the solar energy and how the source of energy and the inherent technology present solutions to the various environmental challenges arising from overreliance on fossil fuels.
Morshed, A. & Abdulsalam, A. (2016). Solar power energy solutions for Yemeni rural villages and desert communities. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, May 2016 57:838 849.
The journal article demonstrates the application of solar energy in a country that receives significant sunlight all year round. Yemen has tapped on the solar energy to power its rural populations. The success of the project demonstrates the ability of the source of energy to solve the energy problems of the world thereby contributing to sustainable living on earth.
Stevie, S. (2013). Solar Power for Sustainable Living: What to Consider Before Going the Do It Yourself Solar Route. New York: Routledge.
The author discusses the basic ways of harnessing the power of the sun, especially for domestic use. The author demonstrates the sustainability of the source of energy and its ability to help overcome the problems related to pollution and the resultant climate changes.
The sources above are valid and rich in critical information that informs the report. Among the factors that influence their validity to include the credentials of the authors. The authors are scholars who embody basic scholarly ethics including the need to reference their claims. Furthermore, the authors embody an adequate understanding of the topical issue as they present their ideas and findings in a chronological and easy to understand manner.
Summary of the technology
Main arguments about the technology (member 3)
Solar energy promises to provide a swift and efficient replacement to fossil fuels thereby contributing to the development of an energy sufficient world that relies on clean and renewable energy. Over the years, especially after the beginning of the industrial revolution, the world relied on fossil fuels and natural gasses. Petroleum products are cheap and convenient to use. As such, they became practical in powering factories and growing the global demand. The expansion of international trade further enabled even countries that do not produce oil to access the product and further their economic growth. The ease of transporting petroleum products led to the development of cars and expounded commerce throughout the world. However, the overreliance on fossil fuel has had serious environmental ramifications. First, the fossil fuels are fast running out, and the world must look for alternative sources of energy. Similarly, the emission of harmful greenhouse gasses has contributed to the development of various health problems besides the obvious global warming and climate change.
Solar energy, on the other hand, is a clean and renewable source of energy that is, therefore, both sustainable and futuristic. Originally, scientists developed solar energy to power satellites orbiting the earth. The technology has proven effective in meeting the demand for energy and has since expanded to cover both domestic and industrial energy needs. Solar power technology collects and converts the energy from the sun using solar panels that have multiple solar cells (Bailey, 2014). The sun promises to remain present for as long as the universe exists. Such certainty implies that it will continue to supply a reliable source of energy for eternity. Solar energy has numerous advantages key among which is its inability to pollute the environment. The solar provides clean energy that will not contribute to either global warming or the numerous health implications of fossil fuels. The technology is equally flexible and promises to create employment to millions of people across the world.
The application of the solar energy technology is equally interesting. The application including daylighting which requires creative designing of buildings. By offering efficient illumination of buildings, the sun in its natural setting promises to reduce the energy demands of large buildings by 30%. Thermal heating is yet another important application of the technology. Houses and industrial complexes have varying demands for hot water. By relying on solar energy to heat the water the companies and private homes reduce their energy consumptions significantly. Finally, generation of electricity is one of the largest application of the technology. Electricity is a basic form of energy in most human environments. The energy powers basic appliances like radios and cell phones. Using solar energy both at domestic and industrial levels to generate electricity promises to provide clean and reliable electricity to homes thereby lowering the cost of energy for both homes and industries (Stevie, 2013).
The uptake of solar energy has increased over the years and continued to increase. However, the growth of solar energy remains dynamic and varies per country. By 2016, the collective photovoltaic capacity had increased by at least 75 gigawatts to reach 303 gigawatts. The figure implies to a significant amount of energy capable of 1.8% of the global demand for electricity (Kaushika, Kaushik & Reddy, 2016). Some of the leading installers of solar energy included the United States, China, and India. Solar energy has significant potential across the world. Africa and the Middle East, for example, have significant potential given the high number of days per year that receive bright sunlight. As such, the governments should invest in the new source of energy to meet the demand for energy and propel the countries to economic prosperity.
Why the technology should interest stakeholders (member 4)
Entrepreneurs are key stakeholders who should develop a keen interest in the expanding solar energy technology. Numerous countries across the world are energy deficient despite receiving a substantial amount of sunlight. Business people have the capacity of investing in such a lucrative sector to reap large amounts of profit while improving the quality of life for millions of people. Countries in Africa that enjoy relative political stability like South Africa, Tanzania and Kenya are prime markets given the large deficit in the demand and supply of energy. Similarly, the problems related to fossil fuel has succeeded in changing public opinion about some of the basic technologies like cars. Ingenious business people like Elon Musk have pioneered the development of electric cars. Opportunity is still rife in developing electric cars with solar panels to recharge themselves especially for regions that receive sufficient sunlight.
Businesspeople must therefore further their interest in the solar power technology with the view to identifying potential business opportunities. Installing solar panels and designing appropriate buildings for the new century require adequate investment but also promise equally handsome returns.
Key questions about the technology
The use of solar energy technology leads to numerous questions that require extensive research to understand. Some of the questions relate to the actual technology which is an explanation of photovoltaics and how the technology works. The question relates to how to derive electricity from light.
Similarly, subsequent questions include how long a photovoltaic system could last, the components of the system and knowing how much sun is adequate for specific functions both at the domestic and industrial levels. Such questions are critical to understanding the use of solar energy and the related technologies to help increase the uptake of the renewable source of energy and even investing in the sector. Other pertinent questions relating to the topic include understanding the differences between photovoltaic and other technologies relating to solar energy. The four solar energy technologies include photovoltaic systems, solar water heating system, transpired solar collectors and concentrating solar power. Each of the four technologies works differently and has unique features. Understanding the differences help understand the relevance and application of the source of clean energy.
Besides the technical aspect of solar energy, people have always demonstrated an interest in the social, economic and even cultural aspects of the technology thereby raising equally important questions. Some of the questions cover the financial benefits of solar energy, the environmental benefits of solar power and how solar power impacts property values across diverse markets. Understanding the environmental and financial benefits of the technology influences its uptake and helps businesspeople identify lucrative opportunities that will not only create substantial profits but also improve the lives of people. The questions require extensive research to understand and contribute to the cumulative value of the research as it seeks to answer all of them.
Group communication (member 5)
I believe that communication is critical to the success of group work. As such, the group prioritizes communication and will strive to maintain continuous communication as the project progresses. The project requires extensive research carried out with all the members of the team to ensure that every member not only contributes adequately but also understands the technology and related facts we will discover at every stage.
The group will, therefore, maintain regular communication using various media including cellphones and emails among others. Mobile phones are appropriate in contacting each other in short notices regarding the work. The messages the members will share through phone calls and text messages will include the progress each member has made in their respective assignments in the project and announcing the meetings that members will have. Emails, on the other hand, will help the members share lengthy notes among other resources we shall discover as we research and study the topic. Sharing emails is essential in enabling the members of the group to understand the research topic thereby enabling a cohesive operation of the team.
Keeping regular communication has numerous benefits. First, it morphs the group numerous members into a unified group that operates efficiently. The members will consult each other and ask relevant questions that will not only expedite the project but also improve the ability of every individual member to understand the contents and concepts of the project. Similarly, regular communication will help the group overcome problems. Most problems arise from miscommunication that may result in two or more members undertaking a similar task while leaving a significant backlog.
Through constant communication, the members of the group will update each other on their progress and provide an opportunity for members to educate others and completing the tasks in time. Finally, regular communication will help improve the communication skills of the members while cementing the friendship among the members. I believe that classwork contributes to the holistic development of students. The group work thus improves teamwork and social skills. We will have the primary obligation of assigning each other tasks and resolving conflicts among others. Regular communication will thus help members understand and apply the various problem-solving techniques while honing their communication and social skills.
Meeting schedule (member 6)
Meeting schedules are yet other important aspects of the project. The team will have regular bi-weekly meetings designed to act as a status report. Each member will have specific tasks in the group. Some of the tasks will run concurrently while others will run successively a feature that necessitates heightened coordination among the members of the team. Every meeting will serve a specific purpose. The first meeting, for example, will entail sharing the work among the group members. Each member of the team will volunteer to complete a section of the work depending on his or her strengths and weaknesses. Some members of the team enjoy elaborate research while others enjoy developing reports yet others have strengths in statistics and tabulation of data. The members will thus share the work and adopt an appropriate structure for the report.
Subsequent meetings will serve as status update sessions. During the meetings, every member will explain the nature of his or her work and the progress made in the assignment. The consultative sessions will require every member to educate the group members by explaining their respective findings. Members will raise questions and demonstrate their independent research by challenging some of the issues raised by the members. Such sessions will make the groupwork productive since the members will have an ample opportunity to learn new concepts and compare the quality of their respective independent studies.
The group members must promise similar commitment to the task at hand. Every member must invest their time in the work and work towards meeting the quality and performance expectations of the group. The periodic meetings will help the members evaluate the progress and make strategic changes to facilitate the completion of the work in time. I acknowledge the principle of reward and punishment as motivations for productivity. We will promise ourselves a small party upon the timely completion of the work. The party and the fun it promises should serve as a motivation for the members to complete their tasks in time. In case some members do not complete their tasks in time, the group will most likely report them to the tutor, expel them from the group and redistribute the task. However, I hope that the members will collaborate to avoid such eventualities.
- Bailey, S. (2014). Solar power: Technologies, environmental impacts and future prospects. New York : Nova Science Publisher.
- Kaushika, N. D., Kaushik, K., & Reddy, K. S. (2016). Sustainable Energy and the Environment: A Clean Technology Approach. Springer International Publishers.
- Lovegrove, K. (2012). Concentrating solar power technology: Principles, developments and applications. Oxford: Woodhead.
- Morshed, A. & Abdulsalam, A. (2016). Solar power energy solutions for Yemeni rural villages and desert communities. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, May 2016 57:838 849.
- Stevie, S. (2013). Solar Power for Sustainable Living: What to Consider Before Going the Do It Yourself Solar Route. New York: Routledge.