By Richard Hantula
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Additional resources for Solar Power (Energy Today)
26 Tidal power 11 Transmission lines 8, 27 Turbines 8, 10 United States 8, 13, 15, 25, 29 Units of measurement 7 Uranium 9, 26 Uses of sunlight 4–5, 6, 11, 16 Vehicles 7, 8, 35, 43; ills. 40, 42 Waldpolenz Solar Park (Germany) 33 Wastes 10, 26 Water cycle 4 Water power 10, 11, 25; ill. 13 Weather, effect of 30; ill. 31 Wind power 11, 25; ills. 13, 32 About the Author Richard Hantula has written, edited, and translated books and articles on science and technology for more than three decades. S. editor for the Macmillan Encyclopedia of Science.
Various power sources can also be used to fill the sunlight gap. If there is a link to the grid, then the grid can do the job. 31 SOLAR POWER Two renewable energy sources provide power for this building. There are PV cells on the roof in addition to a wind-powered turbine (at left). In some cases, however, the grid is not available, so another backup is needed. Often, an electric generator that runs on fossil fuels serves as a backup power source. In addition, some buildings have a “hybrid” energy system that relies on two or more energy sources.
In space, the Sun always shines and there are no clouds. A solar power station—equipped with many solar panels in orbit around Earth—could soak up huge amounts of sunlight. The station would beam the power to the ground, perhaps using radio waves. Currently, this is all theory. Scientists do not know yet whether such a system would work. Even if it would work, scientists do not know whether it would cost too much to be practical. 39 SOLAR POWER These buses run on hydrogen fuel cells. Solar power is used to produce the hydrogen.
Solar Power (Energy Today) by Richard Hantula