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Home > Feature Articles > Alternative Energy Solutions > Solar Energy

Solar Options for Enlightened
Living & Working

Solar resources for photovoltaic energy, heating, water, processing and quality of life

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Sunlight is our biggest, brightest, most powerful – and free -- source of light, heat, energy, organic growth as well as our source of aesthetic and psychological benefits. We’ll make an assumption that you prefer a warm sunlit room over a cold, dark room. And that your mood is lifted when you enjoy the warmth and color of a sunny day.

We treasure sunshine as a valued birthright. Daylight Saving Time is a national ritual. We smile and relax when we see a colorful sunrise or sunset. And light regulates our seasons – from frozen winter wonderlands to sunny summers. Light is a pervasive metaphor for meaning: beauty, safety, inspiration and a pathway to the future--we smile with lightheartedness. And warm to the sparkle in a loved one’s eye.

California light mesmerizes artists and poets and movie makers. Steven Winn describes California’s light at length in his essay, "What is it about California light that mesmerizes artists?"

Glorious and light-drenched as California may be at other, sun-baked times of the year, winter's austerity clarifies. It focuses both vision and attention. It makes us look and look some more and think how differently it will all look in another season, another time, another state of mind.

But there's more to sunlight than personal pleasure.

Sunlight for Business Applications

New energy technologies are being developed to boost the conversion rates of natural resources into usable energy. The rush is on to add solar cells and solar collectors to buildings, vehicles, power plants -- even human clothing to power personal communication devices.

But sustainable use of solar resources can benefit from being looked at in a more balanced way.

The sun is the source of all energy that heats and lights the earth and its structures. It's easy to become so enamored with the energy resources of the day that we forget about the prevalence and flexibility of sunlight.

Sustainability acknowledges the power and flexibility of solar energy.

  • Solar energy drives wind and water – which are sources of renewable energy
  • Solar energy is embedded in organic bio-sources such as wood and soy and sugar beets
  • Solar energy is stored in fossil fuels including coal, oil and natural gas.
  • Solar energy enhances and creates chemical processes such as photosynthesis and bleaching
  • Solar energy provides renewable light day in and day out.

Solar energy produces heat, light, sight, health, cleansing, and cultural impacts in our lives. Solar resources affect industries that range from transportation to healthcare to agriculture.

In California’s Mojave desert solar thermal power plants are being built to produce solar thermal electricity. Huge solar mirrors are already producing electricity for more than 350,000 homes.

We harness solar heat through passive solar building designs and tap natural heat storage in water, soil and rocks. Radiant heat is released to moderate temperatures both in immediate vicinities and along coastal shores that benefit from the heat retention of the oceanic waters.

To limit our thinking about the natural resource of solar rays to photovoltaic energy conversion is to seriously underpower our creative opportunities for quality of life and business sustainability!

With the development of solar cells – or photovoltaic energy – a new range of energy conversion is emerging. Solar energy is part of earth’s natural resources system that relies on a renewable source from the sun. Fossil fuels are actually sunlight stored millions of years ago. Even nuclear energy comes from a star that exploded to create the uranium atoms.

California Green Solutions Newsletter -- Mar. 2007



Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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