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Brock Johnson
Mrs. Coco
English 1001
3 November 2016
Number of Paragraphs:
Audience: My audience is a friend or acquaintance that is interested in the development and
use of solar energy in the United States today.
Solar Energy
Solar energy is easily one of the most easily attainable types of renewable energy on the
planet. The source for all this energy is the sun in the center of our galaxy. The sun gives off
energy in the form of solar radiation which is being constantly emitted from the giant ball of
gas. This solar radiation is then collected by humans and transformed into a usable form of
energy. The solar radiation that is being emitted from the sun will be there for millions of years
until the sun itself is burned out. By switching to solar energy America could be taking
advantage of the potential energy coming off of a star. The only problem to switching to solar
energy is that it would hurt all the existing major power companies and the existing power grid.
Solar energy is becoming more popular today than it ever has been before due to
several reason. These reasons include the effectiveness of existing solar panels, the cost of
these solar panels, the grid parity, and the physical location in which these are installed. But
there is also one big adversary to switching solar energy, and that is the power companies. The
power companies make money buy selling energy to people, so they do not want people

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making their own energy to use. The power companies use politics to block the increased use of
solar energy.
Types of solar energy collectors and effectiveness
There are two different types of solar collectors available today on the market. The first
one is the classic solar panel that everyone imagines when you say “solar energy”. The second
type of solar collector is called a concentrating solar power system. The first type of solar
energy collector is actually made up of photovoltaic cells or PV cells for short. The United States
National Renewable Energy Laboratory says that the traditional PV cells are generally efficient
flat-plates made up of silicon. Unlike the newer second generation PV cells which “are called
thin-film solar cells because they are made from amorphous silicon or nonsilicon materials such
as cadmium telluride.” (cite it). These film solar cells are just millimeters thick by using several
semiconducting layers of material. This thin layer of cells can then also serve as facades on
buildings, as rooftop shingles, or as a film on skylights. (cite it). These cells are arranged on a
sheet of usually (dimensions). These sheets are then put on roofs or mounted on pivoting
points so they can move with the sun to collect the most amount of potential energy.
(Talk about the second version) The second type of solar energy collectors is called a
concentrating solar power system and it is made up of three different main types of these solar
power systems. The three types are linear concentrator, dish/engine systems, and power tower
systems. The linear concentrator acquires the suns thermal energy through a series of curved
mirrors. According to the United States National Renewable Energy Laboratory, this generates
energy by tilting the mirrors to the sun, so that the light is focused on the “receivers that run
the length of the mirrors.” This heat is used to heat up a fluid that flows in tubes, these tubes of

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hot fluid then travel through water to boil it. The steam then is used for a “conventional steamturbine generator to produce electricity.”
(Talk about the other two types)
Location of solar energy receptors (Insert quotes) (anecdote)
Solar energy is best captured in areas where one its sunny, two is relatively flat, and three
somewhere that has a lot of open space for the receptors. You need a place where the sun is
always shining because that’s where you will get the most energy from. You want somewhere
mostly flat so that the sun can be collected easier. Also you want a place with a lot of flat open
space due to the fact that solar farms, which are areas where millions of solar cells are lined up
collecting sun rays, are usually made of up several hundred to a few thousand solar panels.
These panels require a lot of land to be lined up and rows and still be able to move with the sun
through sun tracking technology.
Cost of solar energy and grid parity (Insert quotes)
The cost of solar energy has gone down drastically since the first solar panels were
created. The reduced cost of these solar receptors has be due to government incentives and
through increased effectiveness of these devices. According to the United States National
Renewable Energy Laboratory the PV “systems are becoming cost effective for use by utilities
and industry” (cite it). These incentives which have been keeping cost low, have allowed solar
energy to almost reach grid parity. Grid parity is when an energy, solar in this case, reaches the
same cost as energy from the grid making it more reasonable to use at your home. Since grid
parity has almost been reached, power companies are not happy due to the fact that it will
reduced the amount of customers that they previously had.

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Power companies and politics (Insert quotes)
Power companies are opposed to grid parity because it would allow people to generate
their own energy. If people were able to generate their own energy, then they would not have
a need to buy energy from the power companies. Also they would have to buy energy from
those people who generated their own energy and had excess energy. This is due to the net
metering which according to Karsten Moran for The New York Times, net metering is
When solar panels generate more power than a household uses, the excess kilowatts
are pushed back onto the electric grid. Net metering is the billing system that credits a
homeowner for the excess power on the home’s future bills. This helps during the
winter months, when solar systems generate less power since the sun’s energy is
weaker.
Moran then says that home owners still have to pay a connection charge due to the fact that
they are connected to the grid. Between losing costumers and having to pay for energy they did
not create, the energy companies would not be able to maintain the existing power grid
without raising their rates for consumers. The companies would be forced to raise their rates in
order to keep the grid working and functional. But by doing this they would lose customers due
to the fact that solar energy would be the cheaper choice and the cycle would repeat itself.