Wind Energy is a form of solar energy. Only part of sun’s light energy reaches the earth. Some light is scattered, some is reflected and a good amount is absorbed by air molecules including our ozone layer and water vapor and droplets in clouds.
The remaining energy reaching the earth, heats the oceans and land which transfer their heat into air and clouds in the atmosphere. In absorbing sun’s and earth’s energy, air is heated and like a hot air balloon, this heated air becomes less dense and starts to rise, thus creating movement of the atmosphere. (Additional large scale air movement and wind is caused by earth’s rotation.)
As warm air rises, cool air rushes in to replace it and this motion of air is what we know as wind.
Energy not absorbed by photovoltaic solar panels does not go to waste, it is converted by our planet into wind!
The higher the temperature difference between air masses, the stronger and more powerful (full of energy) the wind becomes. This high energy wind is prevalent on coast lines where cool ocean air blows almost constantly at the coast line in its rush to replace warm air as it rises over heated land masses.
Figure in this text was prepared by Robert A. Rohde as part of the Global Warming Art project.