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Solar power is the way forward

JOBURG - The fear of rolling national black-outs continues to plague most of us as pressure on the electricity grid remains a key concern for most South Africans.

Solar energy could be the answer we are looking for, as it represents the largest potential source of energy that exists at present.

It generates electricity by catching the rays of the sun in solar panels which convert the sun’s energy into electricity. This electricity is then stored in batteries until it is used. Solar energy can be converted into other forms of energy, such as heat and electricity.

Although it can be costly to install, once installed, solar systems need little attention, maintenance and no fuel, and can last almost indefinitely.

Lindsay Marshall, acting general manager for Maropeng, said it makes sense to use an an inexhaustible fuel source that is pollution and noise free, as is the case with solar energy.

“It’s interesting that in spite of the advantages and the growing need to find less harmful methods of energy supply, solar technology still only produces less than one-tenth of 1 percent of global energy demand,” she said.

She pointed out that solar energy has enough power to supply the earth 1 000 times a day.

“While solar energy is free, and its supplies are unlimited, the downside is it doesn’t work at night without a storage device such as a battery, and cloudy weather can make the technology unreliable during the day. Solar technologies are also very expensive and require a lot of land area to collect the sun’s energy at rates useful to lots of people. The production and disposal of UV and PV panels and the environmental impact also need to be factored in,” she said.

“The reality is we need to start focusing on sustainability and using what resources we have efficiently, while keeping the best interests of our planet at heart. So while the jury may still be out on whether solar energy is the solution we’re looking for, the point is we need to keep searching and researching,” she concluded.

Have you made the switch to solar power? Comment below and let us know.

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