What is the Opposite of Solar Energy? Part 1

By Richard Travers

What form of energy is just like solar energy, in that it is:

  • Safe
  • Clean
  • Available in an inexhaustible, renewable supply
  • Distributed broadly across the earth
  • Delivered to our door for free every year, for months at a time.
  • A way to reduce our carbon footprint
  • A way to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and
  • Easily harnessed with “appropriate technology,” but is its complete opposite?

Lunar energy? The power of the tides caused by the gravity of the moon tugging at the oceans can turn generators. The sun and the moon have been compared throughout history, but opposites? I don’t think so.

Geothermal power? Earth energy lies deep down below our feet, the opposite direction from the sun above our heads. Sort of opposite, but like tidal energy, certainly not delivered to my door in any great quantity.

Wind power? A wind turbine is a lot more active than a solar collector.  But isn’t the wind another form of solar energy because the sun causes hot air to rise and create the wind?

Hydropower? It usually doesn’t rain when the sun shines, right?  However, it can’t rain without the sun first shining somewhere and causing water to evaporate to become rain clouds.  That makes hydropower liquid solar power.

Biomass?  That’s also solar energy, temporarily stored by photosynthesis in plants.

How about oil, gas, or coal?  Definitely not, since they are just fossilized solar energy, not to mention, non-renewable, loaded with carbon, and more expensive all the time.

Nuclear power? How much more opposite in danger and complexity can you get?  And although fusion is the opposite of fission, the sun is a huge nuclear reactor, located a fairly safe 96 million miles away.

So, it seems that while many forms of energy are either really the same as solar energy, but disguised, or are just different, none are the exact opposite. Now you know what is not the opposite of solar energy.  Tune in next week to find out what is.