The Renewable Planet Resources
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Solar energy is energy that is harvested from the sun and converted into usable energy for the home or business. Solar energy can be converted into thermal energy in water. This is used for either hot water use in the home or for space heating.
Photovoltaics (PV) refers to the process of converting solar energy to electricity. This is accomplished when sunlight strikes the surface of a solar panel. The electrons in the silicon panel are agitated and create the flow of electricity down a wire. There are no moving parts to create electricity this way. This is part of the reason why solar panels have extremely high reliability and long life spans.
A third form of solar energy production called Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) combines photovoltaic power production with thermal energy. This method uses less of the expensive silicon. Mirrors are used to concentrate the rays of sunlight onto a small section of silicon thus increasing the output of electricity relative to conventional PV panels.
Wind is air in motion, produced by uneven heating all over the earth’s surface. Wind is most often produced near water. The temperature near water is moderated by the water, and when the temperature on land rises or falls this can produce windy conditions. On a larger scale earth’s major wind currents are created by the difference between temperatures at the equator and the poles.
Wind is a renewable energy resource because there will always be wind, as long as there is sunlight. Wind energy is used to generate electricity in small wind systems and on wind farms where it can produce electricity at very large rates.
Biomass refers to renewable organic matter. Examples of biomass include fast growing trees and plants, wood and wood waste, agricultural crops and residues, aquatic plants and algae, animal wastes, and organic municipal and industrial wastes. People have relied on biomass energy throughout history.
Biomass can be converted to energy in a variety of ways. It can be burned to provide space heat. Starch and cellulose in plants can be converted into ethanol for transportation fuels. Vegetable oils can be processed to produce biodiesel. Also, biomass energy can be captured in the form of methane from landfills.
For this website we have currently combined Geothermal systems, Small hydro-electric systems and Ocean energy systems into this category. As the site grows with more projects, we expect to separate these different energy systems and also include other emerging renewable energy technologies.
The earth is a storehouse of energy that is produced internally by the heating and long-term cooling of the planet. The surface of the Earth is also warmed by solar radiation. The earth's energy is referred to as "Geothermal Energy". This energy is available for use in a variety of applications, including recreational use (hotsprings), direct use for heating, and power generation.
Generators are the key to getting electricity from falling water. A power source is used to turn a turbine, which then turns a metal shaft connected to the motor that produces electricity. A coal-fired power plant uses steam to turn the turbine blades; whereas a hydroelectric plant uses falling water to turn the turbine. The results are the same. For this website we are focusing on small hydro electric projects that do not alter the surrounding natural environment.
Ocean Energy systems include either wave power or tidal power systems. The goal of either method is to capture the energy in the water to drive generators to produce electricity.
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