The sun.  It really is beautiful.

Sunny days seem to be the days that as a species we enjoy the most.  If it’s a sunny day and the weather is warm, most of us leave whatever dwelling or cubicle we may be in to sit outside and soak up some of the rays.  Just sitting, feeling the warm and energy beat down on us has the ability to make us feel better.

But the sun has much more to offer than beauty and tan lines.  The sun produces more solar energy than we as a planet would ever be able to use.  Ever.

The amount of energy that the sun produces that hits the earth in one hour is enough energy to power the world for a year.  A whole year.  The amount of solar energy reaching the surface of the planet is so vast that in one year it is about twice as much as will ever be obtained from all of the Earth’s non-renewable resources of coal, oil, natural gas, and mined uranium combined.

Not only does the sun produce solar energy that can be harnessed by solar panels, it’s also responsible for wind energy.  See wind is created when the sun heats the earth’s surface unevenly.  Thanks to clouds, atmosphere and the curvature of the earth, this is always going on.

Solar energy can be used to heat water to temperatures of over 60 degrees Celsius.   It can also be used to purify saline and brackish water.  Solar energy can even be used to drive chemical reactions.  These processes offset energy that would come from fossil fuels and can convert solar energy into storable and transportable fuels.

This is just the tip of the iceberg.  The first solar cell was not invented until 1883 by Charles Fritts.

Harnessing the power of the sun for a brighter future has only become possible in the last 200 years and look at all we have discovered that the sun is able to do for us.