Super Moon Produces “Lunar” Energy?

super-moon-lunar-energyLast weekend many enjoyed the wonders of nature as the Super Moon was in full effect. The Super Moon, or the biggest and brightest moon of the year, coincided with summer solstice making it the closest moon to Earth in 2013. It not only gave spectators some nighttime splendor, but a solar plant in California reported that energy was produced from the Super Moon’s light.

According to Sustainable Business, First Solar’s Antelope Valley Solar Ranch produced 1MW of energy just from moonlight Sunday, sending electricity to the grid. While the solar panels can produce energy on cloudy days, this marks the first time solar energy was produced from the moon’s light. Oddly enough, Abundant Energy posted a hoax in April satirically declaring moonlight the hidden secret to energy efficiency. Now, it’s been proven possible.

Though 1 MW of energy does not make a massive impact on energy production, it does open the possibility to nighttime solar energy- or should we say “lunar” energy? First Solar reports its thin film panels are able to produce energy through clouds, rain and have even through snow. Since we now know moonlight can also produce energy, it might be feasible to use this technology in the future.

Unfortunately, even if energy can be generated from moonlight, opportune nights will be very limited. Perigee moons or Super Moons occur when the moon is closest to Earth during any given month. The most recent Super Moon was not only the closest moon to the earth for the month, but for the year. This happens once every 1 year, 1 month and 18 days. Therefore we won’t see another until August 2014.

Solar energy has come a long way since its first development in the mid 1800’s. What started as a precaution in case there was a coal shortage is now becoming a major energy contributor. From commercial buildings, to homes, to whole plants of solar panels, solar energy can now sustain more than ever. As technology advances we just might see lunar energy as a generation source in the future.

Emily can be found on Google+.

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