Our research of renewable energy has been focused on four key sources of energy:
Solar energy works by turning sunlight beams that hit the panels into electric currents. The University of New South Wales (UNSW) recently reached a milestone 40% energy efficiency. This means that 40% of the sunlight that hits a solar panel will be converted into electricity, and there are already companies from France who have reached 46% efficiency in laboratory tests. Although seemingly only large businesses have made the move towards solar because of their high costs, prices are gradually becoming more cost-efficient for homeowners. It is estimated that by 2025 the price will be competetive with natural gas and it is already cheaper than grid power. So why haven't more homeowners converted to solar? The cost is only a few dollars less on average per year than grid power, and most homeowners don't believe that to be worth the high cost of installation; about $3,500 on average.
Wind energy of all the renewable energy types looks to be the most promising. For homeowners alone, energy costs can be brought down as much as 90 percent. "With today's technology, wind energy could provide 20% of America 's electricity(or about the amount nuclear power provides) with turbines installed on less than 1% of its land area. And within that area, less than 5% of the land would be occupied by wind equipment the remaining 95% could continue to be used for farming or ranching" says Alternative Energy.
Hydropower has 90% efficiency rate, and is perfect for a homeowner or small business for those with flowing water on your property. A 10-kilowatt system is enough to power such building types, and power is produced for $0.07 per kilowatt hour. On a global scale, 97% of renewable energy used is created by hydropower making it the leading source of renewable energy.
Geothermal energy produces heat from below the earth's surface. It can act as both a heater and air conditioning as the earth is often the opposite of the extremes than the air temperatures. However, there are a few problems to solve before the use of geothermal energy can be a reliable a source of energy as wind or solar. Unlike solar or wind power, energy taken from a source can not be more than is being produced, or the source will eventually run out like any other resource. Also, as of now families would only save about a dollar a day with geothermal heating/cooling. Definitely a promising source of energy, but we'll have to wait a few years before this source becomes efficient and cost friendly.
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