Solar energy can either be captured from the sun for use by human beings or blocked for the protection of human beings from sunlight. Throughout human history, solar energy has been used in a variety of ways. People built their homes and buildings to shade themselves from the sun in warmer regions and built their homes in the sunlight in cooler regions. The positioning and design of buildings contributed to either utilizing the solar energy being radiated by the sun or blocking the strong effects of the sun’s power.
Today, in modern culture, there’s also interest in the use of solar energy to promote effective energy use, and there are advantages and disadvantages in regard to the use of both solar energy traditions as well as new technologies. Akbari, Pomerantza and Tahaa claim that urban areas lacking in vegetation and reflective building materials are much warmer than they could be (2001). In replanting missing vegetation and by utilizing reflective building materials, urban centers could be kept cooler and provide for more efficient energy use.
On the other hand, using darker materials or removing plants from around a building or dwelling could increase heat in an area that is considered to be too cool. Simply by positioning windows and doorways a certain way, planting trees, or using smart construction plans and materials, a human habitat can be kept energy efficient. Solar energy in used in two natural ways, either collected or blocked. The only disadvantage to natural solar energy practices may be the desire for fuel (oil, gas, and coal) or nuclear energy companies to remain in the lead and retain their large market shares.
In this sense, solar energy would be a threat. At the current time, there are high costs facing the implementation of modern solar energy technologies. The market share of people who use solar energy is low, somewhere around 5% or less of the total world population, causing solar technologies to remain expensive to implement at the current time (Dresselhaus & Thomas, 2001). Also, the technologies themselves are still not as cost efficient as they could be, solar roof panels and solar capturing, conversion, and storing engineering capabilities remaining less than cost effective for global markets.
Although there is more than enough sunlight to power the entire world, the technologies needed to utilize this energy are still yet to be fully developed and marketed and are currently expensive to implement (Lewis, 2007). Although the widespread use of solar energy in both nature and technology seems very possible, there are still obstacles to the use of solar energy, including educating the public about solar capabilities and promoting research in reducing costs in technology.
The future is bright for humanity’s cooperation with the sun, but effective policies and implementation are required to boost solar use and better solar technologies. Perhaps good first steps for warmer households would be to plant more trees around their homes and to paint or build their homes to reflect sunlight. For cooler households, in may be practical to have a darker, more heat absorbent home and to move trees away from the direct perimeter of the building. And always, keep on the lookout for affordable solar technologies.