Are Solar Panels the Answer to Mankind’s Energy Crisis?

Publish On: 19 Aug, 2019 05:40 PM | Updated   |   Sj Desk  
Solar Panels Energy


“Every act of creation, is an act of destruction first.” - Pablo Picasso



 great man had once said, “Man is his own worst enemy.” It’s a statement which has resonated throughout generations and has stood the test of time. The fact that it’s relevant even today, speaks volumes about man’s inherent nature. Fact is, we build the path for our own destruction. Knowingly or unknowingly, we have exhausted our natural resources. Yes, we are the smartest life form inhabiting Earth right now. But the current road we’re headed on, it’ll lead us right back to the Stone Age. Our current rate of consumption is way higher than nature’s rate of production. It’s actually poetic in a sense. The ashes we rose from, will what we become after we burn our world down to the ground.

A concept image depicting a row of solar panels installed at a facility.

Now, coming back to the main topic of discussion here. So why exactly are solar panels our redemption from the ongoing energy crisis all over the world? Before answering the question, you’ll need to have a general idea of what exactly solar panels are. And trust me, I’m not going to bore you with technical specifications or some big terminologies. The mechanism is actually very simple. In layman terms, solar energy is the energy derived from the sun. And solar panels act as the converters. So they absorb the sunlight and convert it into usable energy, or electrical energy to be specific. Sounds very innovative, right? However, here’s a fun fact for you; solar panels only convert about 15-16% of the sunlight falling on them. Which basically means the current solar panels are only 15% efficient. And boy, are they costly. Even the world’s costliest solar panel is only 42% efficient.

The various factors which affect the solar panel efficiency.

Now you may ask why it is so. Truth be told, it’s not very easy to develop a 70-80% efficient solar panel. The huge energy losses that these solar panels incur are due to a lot of factors. Primarily, one of the big one is the thermodynamic limit-a photon of less energy (longer wavelength) than the silicon band gap cannot produce an electron and one with higher energy can only produce as much voltage as the band gap. Now this is a lot science hokum which a common reader may not relate to. But the bottom line is the fact that we are limited by the technology of our time to be able to produce highly efficient solar panels.

Concept image for ‘floating solar panels’.

All said and done, solar energy is still the cleanest and the most reliable form of renewable energy that is at our disposal. Solar panels are basically one-time investments, whose returns outweigh the initial costs. With the sun burning since 4.603 billion years, and with 5 billion more years to go, solar panels become our safest bet when it comes to resolving the energy crisis. Industries like the automobiles manufacturers are coming with technology to incorporate solar panels in cars and develop a whole new breed of solar powered vehicles. Solar panels are being installed in residential communities and powering a whole society altogether. With just 15% efficiency, solar panels have already found a loyal customer base worldwide. With zero toxic by-products and no residual waste, solar energy is definitely the go-to alternative energy source at our disposal.

Solar energy is indeed the cleanest form of energy available right now.

In conclusion, solar panels might just be our the restoration we’re looking for, butit’s not just about finding alternatives to save us from the global catastrophe of the energy crisis. It’s about addressing the pertinent issue. It’s about taking a moment out of our lives and reflecting upon the dire consequences of our careless actions. Yes, we have found a good, alternative energy source, but who’s to say we won’t exploit it in the coming years. Fact of the matter is, we are so busy finding the solutions to our problems, that we forget why the problem arose in the very first place. And until and unless we tackle our inner demons, we can never make the world a better place. For it’s not just about building a better future. It’s about preserving the priceless present.