What Are the Advantages of Solar Energy?

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The advantages of solar energy are that it's free once it is harnessed, it is infinite because of the sun, and it is a renewable source of energy. Discover why solar energy is not necessarily clean energy with help from a science teacher in this free video on solar energy.

Part of the Video Series: Physics & Electromagnetism
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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Steve Jones and I'm going to tell you about the advantages of solar energy. Well, first of all solar energy, by the very word, means solar comes from the sun. So the energy essentially is free. At least it's free once you can harness it. Now we know that in fact plants can harness the sun's energy. Man cannot. We can't stand outside and put our arms out and absorb the sun to any useful effect. So what is the advantages then of solar energy. Well, solar energy is renewable because there's an infinite amount of sun and the sun's going to be there for a few thousand million years yet. It can be used in conjunction with other energies which is very good. And it is also fairly clean. That is, there are no by- products that come from the absorption of the sun's radiation. The other advantage is that it doesn't matter where you are, as long as you've got the sun, you've got that energy. The problem with that of course is, and when I put clean question mark, I have to remember that whilst the energy itself is clean, the material, the device which actually creates the energy from the sun's rays, is not clean. It is silicon crystals, it contains a lot of very nasty chemicals and these have to be disposed of finally at the end of the life of the solar panels and so forth. So the advantage of solar energy certainly is the renewability and it's clean at the point of use. But as with all energy, we have to look at the devices which save us energy and see how much energy they actually use up to produce that device. But that's the same with all energies. So, simply the advantages of solar energy are that it can be used anywhere, it's renewable and it's basically pretty clean.

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