Solar power can often be a controversial subject. To some, it may seem like an easy cop-out in the face of an ever-looming oil shortage to simply suggest all areas utilize solar panels. Not every nation has enough land to construct wind farms, let alone swathes of solar panels hoping to catch enough sunlight to power the lights for a day. Often times they need to be guarded by a large fence to ensure nobody steals the expensive materials. But for others it can be frustratingly simple that a carefully considered and budgeted solar power strategy could potentially reap major returns in renewable energy, aiding the world’s continual search for a truly perpetual energy source.
While there are sound points to be made for either side of the solar debate, not many are fully aware of the inner workings of solar energy or it implications. While wind energy is relatively straightforward, as the turbine turns when wind blows into it, solar energy is more complex than simply setting up a panel and hoping it catches some rays. Solar panels in fact need careful optimization in order to realize their full energy production potential: the panels must be angled directly at the sun (or as close as can be managed) throughout the day, so they must be able to be continually pivoted, and the electricity storage for their output must be carefully considered. Will a solar panel store electricity in a battery system for a rainy day? Or would residents prefer that it feed into the grid for a discount from the power company? These questions barely scratch the surface of the hidden complexities of solar energy.