There are quite a few types of renewable energy, and even within the main types of renewable energy technology, there are often subcategories. These technologies continue to develop, and will increase in prominence throughout the world as traditional fossil fuel powered electricity production continue to diminish. Certain types of renewable energy, such as solar panels, are also bringing power to remote communities, that are not connected to the electricity grid.
Solar Power - Solar panels are the most popular form of domestic renewable energy production, and in recent years, there have been a number of government backed initiatives throughout the world to increase the uptake of solar panels, such as the FIT scheme in the UK. Solar Panels come in two main forms - solar photovoltaic panels for energy production, and solar thermal panels for heat production.
- Monocrystalline Solar Panels - the most effective form of solar photovoltaic panel, but also the most costly.
- Polycrystalline Solar Panels - these are another form of solar photovoltaic panel, and cost slightly less than monocrystalline, as these panels use a less pure form of silicon. With the cheaper price also comes a lower electricity yield.
- Thin-film Solar Panels - these solar PV panels aren't the most effective, but do have a cheaper manufacturing process. They are also the most aesthetically pleasing, as they have have a more uniform appearance.
- Flat Plate Thermal Panels - these solar panels do not produce electricity, but instead create hot water for use around the building.
- Evacuated Tube Solar Panels - another form of solar thermal panel for hot water production. Although they initially have higher installation costs, they are more efficient.
Nuclear Power - There is some debate as to whether nuclear power should be considered renewable or not. In most circumstances, nuclear power is not considered a renewable energy, but some experts disagree, and believe it should be included as a form of renewable energy.
Hydroelectric Power - Electricity created from flowing water, often diverted into enclosed tubes that run down steep slopes to generate speed and power. The water spins a turbine, that turns the kinetic energy into usable electric energy.
Wind Power - Similar to solar energy, wind is all around and will never run out, making it a great form of renewable electricity. Areas with high wind can generate large electricity yields from wind turbines, that spin like giant fans to create power.
Tidal Power - Similar to hydroelectricity, as they both use moving water to create energy, tidal power uses the motion in the oceans to generate electricity. Due to the predictability of tides (compared to solar and wind power), tidal power is becoming increasingly popular for renewable electricity production.
Biomass Power - Biomass involves unlocking the power stored within organic materials, such as wood, and is a popular form of energy within developing countries. Biomass boilers are becoming increasingly popular, as they are not only a renewable source of hot water within a property, but they are also carbon neutral, as the organic material consumes enough carbon dioxide during its life to offset any emissions created during its burning.
Geothermal Power - Power generated using steam from reservoirs of hot water stored under the Earth's surface. Geothermal power uses the heat in the Earth's core to heat the water, which then rises and spins a turbine attached to a generator, resulting in electricity production.
Hydrogen Power - Hydrogen fuel cells use Earth's most abundant element, hydrogen, to create power. Hydrogen fuel cells use a chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen to create usable electricity.
Solar Energy: this refers to the energy released through the use of solar panels.
Hydroelectric: As the consumption of electricity increased, hydropower came into the forefront. This saw the rise of hydroelectric power plants near cities to supplement the need for electricity.
Wind: Wind has been powering seacrafts since some time now.Windmills have also been used extensively in agriculture.
Biomass: the stored energy from plants that is converted into energy that can be used by man, is called as Biomass. Hence, burning wood is also an activity that produces biomass.
Geothermal: this refers to the energy generated by the heat that is already present on the planet, near the surface.
The advantage of these renewable energy sources is that they are inexhaustible and cause hardly any pollution. On the flipside, they are generating energy from these sources gets costly and hard to maintain.