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Alternate energy refers to forms of energy that are constantly replenished by the Earth. The energies are natural occurring and are tapped for conversion into other forms of energy. Energy cannot be destroyed but can be converted into other forms. Research in alternate sources of energy has been extensively carried out. This is affiliated with the looming energy crisis being experienced globally. The global demand for energy is higher than the amount of energy being generated. The global economic equilibrium is unbalanced leading to market failures and poor policies for energy generation. Currently, the energy sector is dominated by fossil fuels which 80% is controlled by investment banks. A cleaner source of energy in attempts to reduce emission of green house gases from fossil fuels also forces the need of less toxic fuels. This paper will focus on the Solar energy; other include Wind energy, Bio-fuels, Hydroelectricity, Nuclear Energy and Bio-Mass.
Solar energy represents the largest amount of energy current reaching the earth’s telluric ecosystem. 100,000 trillion watts of solar energy hit the ground and undergo conversion to other forms of energy. This resource is vast as it is almost 6500 times the global consumption of energy used by humans (13.7 trillion watts). Currently, the application of this form of energy represents less than 1% of the potential it holds in electricity production under renewable sources. Solar energy requires high capital cost in investment, intermittency and modest conversion technologies making it cumbersome to initiate use in the form of energy. The greatest challenge in solar technology is in the discovery of new solar energy mechanisms that are more efficient and less capital intensive.
The universal energy potential ranges from 2.5 to 80 trillion watts with the bottommost estimates highlighting 18% of the final current primary energy consumption. The amount represents more than 10% of the estimated universal consumption of 2030. The solar energy market share is significantly low Developed countries have progressively invested in solar mechanisms with projections with 2030 projections estimated at 13.6GW (80% from photovoltaic and the rest from solar geothermal energy).
China, Japan, USA, Taiwan and Germany lead the globe in them production of solar energy. China and Taiwan are the major solar producing countries with 60% market share. Most of the solar produced in these countries is used locally. Scholars estimate that a 4% cover of the global deserts with solar panels is enough o power the whole universe. The global pricing of solar power by end of year 2010 was at 18 cents per kilowatt-hour. Compared to coal and natural gas, the price is three times higher. This fact lags the transition from fossil fuels to solar energy. Europe’s Saharan desert project is the largest solar project estimated at 550 billion dollars to tap into the desert’s solar radiation to power 85% of Europe.
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