Is Solar Energy Renewable or Non-Renewable?

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Renewable energy sources are continuously replenishing energy sources, such as the sun, wind and geothermal heat. Non-renewable energy draws on resources that are limited such as natural gas, coal and oil.

Types

  • Solar energy is renewable. Passive solar energy uses direct heat from the sun's rays. Active solar energy involves collecting energy though solar panels. The panels then transfer the energy to storage units for immediate or future use.

Uses

  • Examples of passive solar energy include drying clothes in the sun and designing a home to optimize sun energy for natural heat or light. Active solar energy can power vehicles, lighting, heating, cooling, and water heaters.

Benefits

  • Because solar energy is renewable, there is a constant supply to be tapped. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, active solar heating reduces fuel bills, particularly in the winter. Solar energy is environmentally friendly because air emissions, water discharge and solid waste generation are negligible.

Drawbacks

  • The initial setup of active solar energy equipment is often costlier than other energy producing devices. Solar energy is dependent on available sunlight. Locations receiving little direct sunlight throughout the year may not benefit as much from solar power as do places with direct sunlight.

References

  • Photo Credit Solar image by Thomas Leiss from Fotolia.com
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