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Solar Energy - Energy Society and the Environment Unit 6...

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Energy, Society, and the Environment Unit 6: Solar Energy
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Solar Energy is not a New Concept Solar cells on a satellite Solar cells on a rooftop Cookies baking in a solar oven
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How do we use sun’s energy? 1. Passive solar : For example, heat your home with south-facing windows
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How do we use sun’s energy? 2. Solar-Thermal : Use the heat from the sun to boil water A solar power plant in Australia
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How do we use sun’s energy? 3. Photovoltaic Cell : Directly produce electricity from sunlight using “semi-conductors”
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How do we use sun’s energy? 4. The Cheapest Way : The plants know how to Efficiency: 0.3 % We can’t meet the world’s energy demands in this way
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Why Solar Energy? We need ~ 30 TW of power, the sun gives us 120,000 TW. Solar cells are safe and have few non-desirable environmental impacts. The sun shines when we need energy the most. Using solar cells instead of burning coal to generate electricity is a easy way to reduce carbon emissions.
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The Sun
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What is Sunlight? Light is made of waves
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Sun Light (Waves) Frequency: How frequent the peaks are Wavelength: How far apart the peaks are Speed = frequency x wavelength
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What is Sunlight? ALL LIGHT WAVES TRAVEL AT THE SAME SPEED Speed = frequency x wavelength = c
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Composition of Sunlight
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Solar Spectrum Our atmosphere preferentially absorbs some wavelengths Most UV and some infrared is blocked See the handout.
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