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ENCYCLOPEDIA Energy-pedia SOLAR ENERGY
pannelli solari 3About 50% of solar radiations hits our planet,  developing an energy quantity that, properly exploited, would be thirty thousand times more than the amount needed to supply the world demand.Solar energy is used to generate power through the photovoltaic panels or to generate heat through the thermal solar panels.


In both cases, a clean energy is obtained, which is economically viable, in the framework of a progressive replacement of fossil fuels and greenhouse gas, according to the international agreements on the environmental matters and to the Kyoto Protocol.

Greenhouse gases are substances having a direct or indirect impact on the radioactive characteristics of the atmosphere, they allow the solar radiations to filtrate but they absorb the radiations released by the earth surface. These gases, especially CO2, nitrogen oxide and methane, are the cause of the greenhouse effect. The environmental impact of energy produced by a solar source is, on the contrary, almost close to non-existent, also by a visual point of view. Its silence, the lack of any damaging gas emissions, allows a perfect quantification of the difference with respect to polluting emissions, released in the atmosphere while producing the same amount of electrical power through the traditional combustion sources.

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Another point of strength of the photovoltaic system is the possibility to build small and medium sized plants, able to supply the energy demand of limited urban settlements, specific structures (firms, schools, residential buildings) and even of individual residential units. The advantage, then, is that it doesn’t require massive works for the pants that, moreover, can be removed, at the end of their life-cycle, without having brought about any meaningful changes to the previous natural environment of the site where they have been installed.

A photovoltaic station, moreover, is characterised by the simplicity of the structure and the small amount of maintenance operations and materials consumption, which leads to the consideration that if functioning doesn’t imply any waste production to dispose of. A very important aspect in the framework of the environmental impact.

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Technology at the origin of solar energy doesn’t imply any sound emissions, electromagnetic interferences and naturally, no damage caused by the solar rays reflection because a panel satisfies the very need to keep and collect solar energy, not to reflect it.

Thanks to the current techniques, moreover, photovoltaic panels are also sensitive to infrared sun rays radiations and then produce power even if its cloudy or rainy. The energy power supplied is, however, variable and hard to predict, but a production over the annual demand peaks ensures security margins for periods when the production decreases. In the summer, for example, solar energy can satisfy the higher households demand due to the use of air conditioners.

In Italy there are over 30 thousand photovoltaic plants and, with respect to the installed photovoltaic power, in the International ranking it is placed among the top places. In fact, after Spain and Germany, it is almost at the same level of the United States.

SOLARE

Apulia region holds the national record in the solar energy production with 12,3%. In the northern part of Italy the values are on average high and homogeneous: Lombardy (10,5%), Trentino (10%), Emilia Romagna (9,1%). In Central Italy the leadership belongs to Umbria and Marche.

In the South and the Islands (regions with a higher possibility  to use solar energy considering their climatic characteristics) Sicily should be noticed with  5,5%.

(source “Ufficio Statistiche” GSE, 2008).

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