Is Solar Energy Renewable or Nonrenewable – get the real answer

Is Solar energy renewable?

is solar energy renewable or non-renewable?

Is solar energy renewable?

‘Is solar energy renewable or non-renewable’ is a question I have often come across from many people. What is the reason behind this?  The reason is: Most of these people who have this doubt in their mind actually are a bit confused about the meaning of the terms ‘Renewable’ and ‘Non-renewable’. It is, therefore, important to first explain these two terms with reference to the energy sources for better understanding of the true answer to the question – is solar energy renewable or nonrenewable?

What is renewable energy?

Before we go into the right answer to the question – ‘is solar renewable or non renewable’, let us first look into what is renewable energy? Renewable Energy is a term that speaks for itself. This refers to energy that is derived from resources which are renewable in natural process meaning that they are replenished at a faster rate than they are consumed i.e. using these resources today will not diminish their availability tomorrow.

For all practical purposes the renewable energy resources are virtually limitless in supply. Examples of renewable energy sources which are a naturally occurring phenomenon and are practically limitless in supply  are, the Sunlight, Wind, Water, Biomass and Geothermal heat.

is solar energy renewable?

Renewable Energy Resources

Where as a non-renewable energy source is a natural resource that is finite, or limited in supply. Sources of non renewable energy examples are Coal, Oil, Natural gas, Uranium etc. These resources are consumed by us much faster than nature can create them. Eventually they will be exhausted altogether sooner or later and hence we cannot sustain our reliance on them indefinitely.

is solar energy renewable or non-renewable?

Non-renewable Energy Resources

 Is solar energy renewable – if so, why?

From the explanation of the terms given above, supply of sunlight being limitless in nature, it should not be difficult for anybody to judge and answer the question – is solar energy renewable or non-renewable? Now why is solar energy renewable?

Solar energy refers to the energy that is harnessed from solar radiation, using the radiant light and heat from the sun for useful purposes. There is no doubt that by the definition given above, solar energy is world’s fundamental renewable power source since it is sustainable and virtually never going to run out, as sun will keep shining and continue to give lights and radiate heat to the earth at least for the next 5 to 6 billion years.

However, there is a downside also to this energy source. It is not available on a 24-hour basis because apart from the sun setting at day’s end, the amount of sunlight also varies depending on the weather conditions. But that doesn’t mean it is non-renewable. It only means that we can’t depend on this resource round the clock in the same manner as we can do on wind, water, and geothermal heat. Nevertheless, it won’t be such a big issue further down the road because there have been advancements in storage technologies that could harvest solar energy and put it to work throughout the no-sunlight period after sundown.

Is solar energy renewable in the traditional sense?

is solar energy renewable or not?

Is solar energy renewable or non-renewable can not be emphatically answered in a single sentence. At the face value, the energy radiated by the sun is totally renewable. Nevertheless, it is also true that the nuclear fusion inside the sun, which produces this energy, cannot continue everlastingly.

In the core of the Sun hydrogen is being converted into helium. This is called nuclear fusion. During this process some of the mass of the sun is converted into energy and this energy is eventually radiated away in the form of light from the Sun’s surface. Thus the Sun is losing mass steadily by just giving off light and eventually it ill get to the point where energy production will cease. The life stages of a star depend mainly on one factor – its mass. In an absolute sense, therefore, solar energy could be deemed as non-renewable because, like all other stars, the sun will become unstable due to loss of major portion of its mass and eventually fade away after going through various phases (it will swell up to a red giant and engulf the earth). But this process would take billions of years, and the scientists estimate that the expected life of our sun is about 5 billion years. Thus, the sun will keep shining and radiate heat every day and isn’t going to burn out any time soon. Therefore, it should not be difficult to infer why solar energy is renewable in every practical sense since it is considered a continuous and infinite resource in relation to the human times scale.

Is solar energy entirely renewable?

Almost all renewable energy sources to some extent depend on fossil fuels or other non-renewable resources. In case of solar power, a range of sophisticated technologies such as solar photo-voltaic, solar heating, concentrated solar power, solar power dish etc. are used for efficient conversion of solar energy to electricity. These technologies are manufactured in facilities powered primarily by fossil fuels. Again, transportation and installation of these solar kits also need help of equipment powered mainly by fossil fuels. It is, therefore, rather difficult to assert that solar power, or for that matter production of any form of energy, is entirely renewable. Nevertheless, scientists believe that the solar power has grown and extended to a point that the amount of renewable energy it generates much exceeds the amount of non-renewable energy required for fabrication and installation of technologies required for conversion of solar energy to electricity.

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Conclusion

It is clear from the above discussion, while there are enough reasons why is solar energy renewable, there are some valid grounds also in the doubts expressed by some people when they ask – is solar energy renewable or non-renewable? Such doubts stem from the facts that almost all renewable energy sources to some extent depend on fossil fuels or other non-renewable resources as explained above and that the nuclear fusion inside the sun, which produces solar energy, shall not continue everlastingly.

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