Do you want to learn more about renewable and in particular solar and wind energy? Follow LifeGate and stay up-to-date. Solar energy arrives at the edge of the Earth’s atmosphere at the rate of about 1,350 watts per square metre: this is referred to as the solar constant because it doesn’t change over time. An immense flux of energy covers the Earth and is thus transformed. Collecting and finding a way to capture this golden waterfall is a real challenge. From Albert Einstein’s Nobel Prize in 1921 for the study on the photoelectric effect, to the launch of the Vanguard I satellite in 1958 (the first satellite powered by photovoltaic panels), today the generation of electricity from the sun has developed thanks to new and more sophisticated power plants based on solar thermal, thermal electric, photovoltaic and passive house systems.
In addition, according to experts at the Worldwatch Institute, the systematic and strategic harnessing of land breezes can generate four times the total amount of energy the world needs. And this goes without considering sea breezes, which are even stronger and stiffer than land ones. The tool used to transform “wind power” (whose factors are air density, the area reached by the wind and instantaneous wind speed) into electricity is the wind turbine. There are small wind turbines that have a diametre of half a metre and can generate 20 watts, as well as big, even gigantic turbines (a Vestas or Repower model has a diametre of 120 metres and generates 1,650 kilowatts). Many sparsely populated, windy areas can produce wind energy. These include vast plains in North America, northwest China, eastern Siberia and the Argentinian part of Patagonia. Offshore plants also have considerable potential.