Solar energy is one of the most important forms of renewable energy. No doubt at some point you’ve driven by a field and seen those large glistening panes, or maybe some people in the neighborhood have them mounted on their house. Perhaps you’ve also assumed the cost was too far out of reach or that solar just wouldn’t work for your needs. Did you know that advances in solar energy research are making it easier for everyone to utilize solar power? Find out about how foldable solar panels may soon replace large solar panels.
What Is Solar Energy?
Solar energy typically relies on unique panels made primarily from crystalline to harness the sun’s rays. The energy absorbed is then converted into electricity. Usually, the panes are cumbersome and expensive to install. They are also brittle and can break, which renders the system ineffective. Panels tend to wear out and become increasingly inefficient over time.
Foldable solar panels are a game-changer. Each panel is made from a lightweight, tightly-woven material of interconnecting small cells, making the panel virtually unbreakable. The lightweight material reduces installation costs. If one of the small cells becomes ineffective, there are many more that will keep functioning independently. One bad cell doesn’t render the entire system worthless. The portability of the system means you can pick it up and take it with you at any point with relative ease.
When Did Solar Energy Research Start?
Going all the way back to the 19th century, scientists were curious about harnessing the sun’s energy. In 1839, Alexandre Edmond Becquerel learned that some materials produced small electric currents when exposed to sunlight. Fast forward to the 1960s. If you’ve ever seen a picture of the moon rover, then you probably noticed it carried solar panels. NASA used solar panels to power many of the space vehicles it developed during that time. In fact, at present, all satellites orbiting the Earth utilize solar energy.
Solar energy is used back on Earth in a variety of commercial ways, but the panels were expensive, and the output minuscule. In the 1970s, a way to lower the cost of solar panels was discovered and put into mass production, thanks to advances in technology and human understanding. From that point on, solar energy started being used more frequently and in more ways.
What Are Some Notable Characteristics of Solar Energy?
Solar energy farms are popping up all over the United States. Some power plants are using solar energy in addition to fossil fuels to generate electricity for customers. You might wonder, how do solar energy systems work?
Solar energy is harnessed when the sun’s rays hit the panels, where they are absorbed and converted into electrical currents. Those currents are then either used immediately as power or stored in batteries for later. The process is similar to rechargeable batteries. When the sun is out, the panels absorb the light, and in turn, the batteries charge. When it’s nighttime, cloudy or overcast, the cells become your electric source. When the sun re-emerges, the process starts again.
What Are Foldable Solar Panels?
As technology has advanced, so, too, have solar panels. With the evolution from large panels to small and lightweight foldable or rollable sheets, the possibilities of utilization are endless. There are foldable solar panels that you can purchase just to charge USB devices. Imagine going to the beach for the day, unrolling your solar panel, and recharging all your portable devices instantly, or harnessing that sunlight in a battery that you can use later. Now imagine not having to be near an electrical outlet to power your phone. You could plug it into the battery packet charged by your foldable solar panel, putting an end to phones and laptops dying unexpectedly and inconveniently.
How Do Foldable Solar Panels Affect the Environment?
Fossil fuels are the primary source of power. From oil and natural gas to coal, humans are consuming more and more energy than ever before. As the population continues to grow, so does the need for power. There just isn’t an infinite amount of fossil fuels available.
Renewable energy sources, such as wind, water, and solar power, are being developed to help reduce the strain on fossil fuels. While it’s true that development and technology have come a long way in the last few decades, there is still a need to push harder.
When humans need fossil fuels, it involves harvesting from the Earth in some fashion. Drilling for oil, fracking for natural gas, and mining for coal all have environmental consequences. It takes away the habitats of wild species because often earth is laid bare in the areas that are being mined. Pipelines used to transport oil span vast areas of a natural habitat. If the installation of the pipeline doesn’t drive away indigenous species, leaks and possible breakdowns of the pipe may.
Environmental accidents also occur. When they do, the effect on the surrounding environment can be devastating for many years. No doubt you’ve seen pictures of ducks covered in black crude oil or dead fish floating in contaminated lakes and ponds. Ocean rigs can leak, destroying reefs and natural ocean environments, which threaten delicate yet vital species. The cleanup efforts take time and money, and the cost of environmental loss is typically high.
Foldable solar panels would have little to no impact on the environment. You wouldn’t need to cut down trees, drill holes, relocate animals or destroy plants to deploy them. Your carbon footprint or the amount of impact you have on the wildlife around you would be nil. Not only would you get the electrical energy you needed to power a home, but you would be doing your part to help conserve natural resources. There is also no chemical or toxic output generated by solar energy. It’s clean, safe and effective.
What Is the Future of Foldable Solar Panels?
Think about how far technology has come in the last hundred, 50, or even 10 years. Every day, scientists and innovators are working to develop the next breakthrough in energy resources. They understand the need to provide more energy to an increasingly tech-dependent world. They also realize that that energy needs to be something other than fossil fuels.
Foldable solar panels are a huge advancement in solar energy. They not only make solar energy more affordable, but they also make it more convenient for a busy on-the-go lifestyle. Instead of paying thousands to mount heavy and cumbersome panels on the roof, you can spend much less for lightweight, longer-lasting foldable panels. If you decide to sell your house, retire, and live in an RV, you can take your solar panels with you.
If you look online, you will find a variety of foldable solar panels available. Some can be mounted on stands or structures, and others can be rolled out and then folded neatly into a suitcase containing a battery pack. Imagine the possibilities that exist if you could take an entirely renewable, rechargeable and seemingly infinite power source with you everywhere you went. How stressed do you feel when you forget to charge your phone or use it more than usual and drain the battery when you’re nowhere near your charger? It’s time for a change, and the relief that comes with it.
Is There A Way to Help Advance Research?
The evolution of solar power takes time, trial, error and money to develop. Independent research organizations have emerged to help advance the technology. Their primary motivation is to stop the damage to the environment as soon as possible by making solar more of a real and widely-used source of energy.
One such organization is The Solar Foundation. It’s a non-profit company that is focusing on educating people on all aspects of solar energy. As of now, solar power makes up fewer than 2 percent of all electricity generation in the United States. That means 98 percent is coming from other sources, most notably fossil fuels. The time to start making solar energy a priority is now, before we deplete all our natural resources and get to a point where it will be critical for humans to convert to renewable energy sources or risk losing power.
The Solar Foundation is a prominent advocate in the solar energy circles. Their work is critical in shedding light on the importance of advancing solar energy. Think of the jobs it would bring, the boost to the economy. One of the things The Solar Foundation is advocating for is bringing solar power to all public schools in the United States. Imagine the many benefits this affords our environment. Something else to think about is the fact that solar panels make for a great learning opportunity for students of all ages. Not only is this educational, but a better way to ensure future generations understand the importance of solar energy.
Why not do your part in the switch from fossil fuel-driven energy to solar energy by investing in the affordable and convenient foldable solar panel alternative? The sun will always be burning brightly in our sky, waiting to be harnessed. For millions of years, plants have used the sun to live, thrive and survive. It’s time humans followed Mother Nature’s lead.