Why is solar energy important in our lives? Without solar energy what would we lack?

I need to write a report on how solar energy connects to my life directly. I want to know if that is basically the same as asking what would we do without the sun? Thanks

5 thoughts on “Why is solar energy important in our lives? Without solar energy what would we lack?”

  1. Ultimately, even fossil fuel burning engines are solar powered. When you burn carbon compounds, you are releasing the energy stored in the complex molecules, and releasing simple carbon compounds such as CO and CO2. The atmosphere had a lot more of these compounds early on until photosynthesis came about. Plants use solar energy to build complex molecules such as starches and sugars (which are basically the same thing). These are stored forms of energy which animals can obtain by eating the plants.

    We can get that energy back out of plants shortly by burning them (wood, paper, coal, etc). Or if the dead plants and animals are allowed to decompose into the soil, these complex carbon compounds go along for the ride, and end up in coal, oil, and natural gas deposits. We then burn these, releasing that carbon which was originally trapped by plants and bacteria millions of years ago.

    If you get an ethanol engine in your car, and burn E80 fuel, you’re mostly releasing the energy that was stored in corn. The energy in the corn came from the sun, too. Most energy stores on Earth are here because of, and supplied by the sun. Windmills are solar powered as well, since it is the Sun which creates the temperature differentials which cause winds.

    Forms of energy production NOT powered by the sun: geothermal and tidal turbines. Geothermal power is harnessing energy coming from the Earth’s heat. If you put a turbine on Old Faithful in Yellowstone park, you’re harnessing the Earth’s energy then. Nuclear energy also comes from the Earth. Tidal generators are harnessing the Moon’s kinetic energy. The Moon’s gravity moves water, and if you harness that motion, then you’re using the Moon as your power source.

    The reason that harnessing solar energy directly is attractive is that it has less of an impact on the environment than releasing solar energy stored in other forms. If you release that energy by burning coal, you are returning carbon into the atmosphere and increasing the rate at which nature would need to be removing it from the atmosphere if balance is to be maintained. Nature does adjust – during the time of the Dinosaurs, there was much more lush jungle than there is now, because the climate was warmer. Warmer climate with more CO2 means that plant life has much moroe opportunity to thrive, but if we buck the cycle faster than nature adjusts, then nature will adjust another way – the habitat will no longer be conducive to human life or at least on the lives of the organisms we depend upon, and thus times get hard for us, Our numbers would dwindle, and our CO2 production would diminish as well.

    If the Sun were not giving us its energy, then almost all cycles on our planet would come to a halt very quickly. Everything would freeze over. Some of the last life on Earth would be at geothermal vents at the ocean floor. These ecosystems aren’t based on the Sun at all anyway, and they could theoreticallty continue for as long as the geothermal energy could keep the ice around them melted, and giving them the energy they need to survive. All life on the surface would be dead very quickly, though.

  2. Yes. Solar energy not only refers to electricity, it’s also the energy of the sun in any way. You can talk about photosynthesis, the way solar energy works in life (did you know that if we expose ourselves to the sun we produce vitamin D?), and, of course, solar energy as a source of electricity. You can find many things. Hope I have helped you! And good luck!

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