The sun, the single, breathtaking body that has illuminated our sky since Earth’s birth. Yet we remain in the dark in solar technology, largely incapable of efficiently harnessing the sun’s energy. But now, a new revolution dawns on solar power technology. The use of non-renewable resources to power households in New Jersey has been deemed ecologically unsustainable due to its potential negative effects on the region, and the biosphere as a whole. Most methods for generating electricity involve the burning of fossil fuels that release greenhouse gases.
Thus, several propositions regarding alternative energy sources have surfaced. The most promising of these is solar energy. Given New Jersey’s regional location, the amount of year-round sunlight is optimal for generating a consistent amount of power. Solar energy involves the use of crystalline or amorphous silicon photovoltaic panels, more simply known as solar panels, in order to convert concentrated visible light from the sun into a usable electric current (Knier). Solar panels are comprised of many, smaller units referred to as photovoltaic cells (Knier) .
A solar panel functions by allowing photons, or particles of light, to knock electrons free from atoms, consequently generating a flow of electricity (Knier). As of now, solar panels are not entirely ideal as ecologically friendly, sustainable, and renewable energy sources due to their excessive cost and energy to space ratio (Solar Energy). However, although solar power presents several issues, the use of photovoltaic paint may solve many of these, while decreasing cost and providing a definitive, renewable energy source for New Jersey.
Issues with Solar Energy
Though solar energy is renewable, it has a few drawbacks. Primarily, the amount of space required is difficult to secure (Solar Energy). Since solar panels are not able to efficiently use all the energy entering the photovoltaics, an immense amount of devices are required, taking up unnecessary space (Solar Energy). In addition, installing solar panels far from where the energy is needed also has drawbacks as this requires power lines to carry the energy (Solar Power Overview). Another significant problem is cost. Photovoltaic panels are often expensive and are not particularly efficient at capturing solar energy; most solar panels capture less than fifty percent of their potential (Solar Power Overview). With improvements to technology, a more compact area with fewer panels garnering the same amount of energy will be feasible. This would conserve space and yield a surplus of energy. Moreover, it would provide a quicker return on investments. However, a great deal of money would have to finance research, raising the cost of solar panels and making them remain an investment that requires more time to mature. Furthermore, ventures in solar panels can turn into a loss if a natural disaster or another force were to damage them. This renders photovoltaics an unsafe investment in many areas that are often subjected to inclement weather.