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Solar Power
If it weren't for the sun and the heat energy it produces, our Earth would be uninhabitable and 'ice-age' conditions would prevail. Yet for years man has struggled with the challenges of capturing solar power effectively and using it as a source of energy. Indeed, every hour the sun shines on Earth, enough energy is produced to satisfy the global demand for energy by our planet for a year or more.
Only a small fraction of the sun's power actually hits the Earth, but however it is enough to make solar power a viable proposition. Its production is pollution-free and of course unlike reserves of oil and gas, and the sun is not going to 'run out' anytime soon. However, despite these benefits, the proportion of total energy production from the sun remains at less than 1% of the total global energy production.
There are massive country-based differences in their adoption of solar power as a viable energy source. In the EU-alone, solar power exceeds 10% of primary energy needs in only 3 countries - Greece, Spain and Malta. This figure is zero (0%) for Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Norway, Serbia and Montenegro.
Sunshine can be considered a source of energy for direct heating of buildings and water (solar thermal), for generating electricity (solar photovoltaic) and for producing crops that rely on natures ability to convert sunlight to energy by using photosynthetic (solar biomass). Solar power offers the most potential as global energy demands increase. Electricity generated in this way can be fed into the electricity grid and with its availability worldwide, its offers hope to the 1.1 billion people that live without access to electricity.
Material: 70 years ago, the first photovoltaic modules were provided by the space programs of the 1960's. They began to develop PV technology in order to provide power for space crafts. However, advancing the technology, reducing the costs and exploiting the full potential of the sun's power are not without its challenges. More efficient materials and methods to capture the sun's energy need to be found.
Storage: Issues around the efficiency of conversion and storage must also be addressed so that when the sun doesn't shine, its energy can be captured, stored and made readily available 24 hours a day.

Photovoltaic technology, Capturing the sun’s energy, Storing energy from the sun, New materials for PV cells, Alternative Energy

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