Activity 18 Solutions:
Uses of Solar Energy
Alternative Energy Sources
Comparison of energy sources
List the advantages and disadvantages of the various energy sources
discussed (fossil fuels, nuclear, tidal, hydroelectric, geothermal, wind,
Which are ultimately forms of solar energy?
All of the above energy sources are ultimately forms of solar energy
except nuclear, tidal, and geothermal.
Fossil fuels have the advantage of currently being cheap and rather
On the other hand, supplies are believed to be limited,
mining and drilling for coal, oil and gas can be environmentally
destructive, burning fossil fuels creates pollution and releases
Nuclear power plants do not release greenhouse gasses or give off
There is a safety problem with older nuclear power plants
and all nuclear power plants generate radioactive waste, a problem for
which there is yet no feasible solution.
Tidal, hydroelectric, geothermal, wind, and biomass energy sources do
not produce pollution but can still harm the ecosystem in their
implementation (damming rivers can kill off fish which spawn
upstream, drilling geothermal wells may be a threat to certain
ecosystems such as the rain forests in Hawaii.)
Solar energy seems to be the most environmentally friendly energy
However, the manufacturing of solar cells can involve CFCs,
which destroy the ozone layer.
Furthermore, solar energy is still too
expensive to be cost effective in many instances.
This is the result of a
combination of manufacturing costs and low efficiency of solar cells.
Hopefully, solar energy will soon become much cheaper and its
advantages will outweigh its disadvantages.
Using Solar Energy
What is solar insolation?
Solar insolation is the amount of solar power received by
a given area.
(Note: insolation should not be confused with insulation, which is used
to restrict the flow of heat.)
What factors affect how much insolation a given region receives?
The latitude, the time of year, the time of day, and the amount of cloud