With solar power being flaunted as one of the realistic alternatives to the burning of fossil fuels, it is only natural that enlightened thoughts are turning to the reliability of the energy it can create. After all, the sun is an intermittent energy source. It does not always shine, with most countries experiencing cloud cover for large portions of the year. There is also the issue that the sun is only available for, at most, 12 hours out of every 24. Could the world’s energy demands really be sustained from what seems like such an unreliable heat source?
The answer is probably no, which is why solar energy is only being spoken of as one of the options for continued energy production. However, solar energy is one of the most viable of the options mentioned, even if it could not meet the entire world’s demands for energy by itself.
The reason for this is simple; the sun is a constant. The sun will continue to shine for as long as there is life on earth; by the time the sun begins to dim, the earth as we know it will begin to die. Unlike the expendable resources of coal and oil, this makes the sun very dependable – it will be here for as long as the world will.
The sun is also relatively easy to ‘tap’ into, as it shines directly onto earth and needs no human interaction for it to work to its full potential. While manufacturing solar panels can be expensive, they are relatively hassle free once created, and the only engineering they require to function is to be pointed as directly as possible toward the sun. This is certainly more viable than having to dig into the earth for coal, or send rigs out to sea to collect oil.
Solar power is, therefore, a reliable energy source. How effective it is is a matter of debate, but one should largely assume that much – if not all – of the world’s demand for energy can be satisfied by our most powerful celestial friend.