Archive for January, 2010


Solar Energy Windmills

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

Wind is an inexhaustible source of energy and creates almost no waste byproducts. Because of this, wind energy is the “greenest” energy source there is. There are many ways to save the environment, and this has always been at the top of the list. Men have been using wind energy for thousands of years. I’m sure everyone has seen an old-fashioned windmill in their lives, right? Well, instead of using windmills to pump water and grind wheat along with other grains, they are now being used to harness the sun and generate electricity in very large quantities. With the idea of global warming on the rise, the use of renewable energy is becoming more and more commonplace.

Since wind energy is powered by the sun, many people also refer to it as solar energy, because technically, it is.  Air currents are caused when radiation from the sun heats the earth. Wind makes the blades of a windmill spin and the blades then collect kinetic energy. These blades are connected by a shaft that turns an electric generator and then produces electricity. Pretty interesting, right? Definitely not your Grandma’s old windmill. Solar panels are made up of cells called photovolactic cells. These cells are made up of silicon and they turn sunlight into energy that can be used for heat and electricity. They typically can convert twenty-two percent of sunlight into renewable energy, which is pretty amazing.

The size of windmills can vary greatly. There are the larger ones you see in states such as California on a typical wind farm, and there are the smaller ones that can be used to power a single home. The large windmills can have a capacity of 5 million watts, and the small ones about 100 kilowatts. No matter the size of the turbine or what it is used for, it is a great way to use the sun for energy that can be renewed over and over. Many people think that when the wind stops blowing or the sun stops shining, the windmills can’t do their job. That is simply not true. The use of solar batteries makes it easy to absorb energy and use it right away, or save it for when it is needed, like a rainy day. With global energy consumption on the rise, these windmills and solar panels are being made more efficiently. They are a great contribution to our environment.