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SCIENCE

This week: clouds are accumulating over the sun's energy

Text by Eve IRVINE

Latest update : 2009-06-22

Every 40 minutes enough sunlight falls on earth to potentially provide humanity with a years worth of energy. In this show we'll be looking at the value of the sun.

The sun is a great natural resource and it could provide electricity to the entire planet but for that to happen, more technical advances will have to be made.

 

Scientists are working on new solar panels, that will be more powerful, easier to use, and cheaper than what is currently available. For the moment, silicon chips are the basis of most solar panels. They are effective but pricey

 

As the economic crisis hits hard businesses are investing less in renewable energy. Indeed, the International Energy Agency estimates that we'll see a 38 percent drop this year.

 

Solar subsidies are also falling across Europe as governments tighten their belts. The cloud hangs heaviest in Spain. The photovoltaic sector which was booming, has hit hard times. Organisations such as Greenpeace are upset with what they see as mismanagement of the energy market.

 

Finally, fame often comes with a price: Egypt's white desert is becoming more and more popular with tourists, but the attention is taking some of the shine off the impressive sloping sands there, and now some holidaymakers find themselves getting out their rubber gloves and cleaning up.

 

Date created : 2009-05-30

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