Solar power electricity is considered by scientists to be the most environmentally sustainable method of energy production, yet the technology is still only being used for a fraction of our planetary energy requirements. While many people are aware of the advantages of producing renewable energy in their homes, our energy production companies have a long way to go before they can reduce their dependency on fossil fuels. The infrastructure for producing energy from solar is gradually increasing, but so is the demand from an ever growing world population.
Solar power electricity is divided into two distinct classes. The first being space based solar energy produced by solar plants located on satellites. Whilst this technology is still in its infancy, the advantages of not having to worry about inclement weather conditions make this an ideal solution. The satellites collect energy in the same manner that solar panels do on earth and transform that into electrical energy which is then transmitted back to us. Over the next decade this technology is being touted as a cost effective method of producing an abundance of solar power electricity without sacrificing large tracts of land required for solar farms.
The second and more commonly known method of electricity generation is the use of solar panels and concentrated solar power plants. Solar panels make use of photovoltaic cells to produce electric current. Varying types of photovoltaic (PV) cells have been manufactured which include those produced from monochrystalline and polychrystalline silicon. The advancements in PV cell production means that solar panels used today are able to produce far more current and will last for much longer than the previously constructed models and designs.
Although solar panels are ideal electricity generators for home and businesses, they are not as cost effective for large scale electricity production as concentrated solar power farms are. Mirrors are utilized to focus sunlight into a beam or onto a specific location on a tower which then heats up the water contained in the tower to operate turbines.
Europe is the forerunner in solar power electricity technology with many of the world largest PV solar plants having been opened in Spain, Italy and Germany. Other countries that have already begun producing large quantities of their electricity from solar technology also include the Czech Republic, France and the United States of America. By2020, the European Union have set the target of 20% of the electricity production for countries within the Union will need to be produced from sustainable sources such as solar and biomass and wind. With less than ten years to this deadline, we are sure to see many more solar farms being built.