Scientists have estimated that the earth gets enough solar energy from the sun each hour of each day to provide our electrical needs for an entire year. That’s a lot of free energy constantly hitting our planet each and every minute of the day! While we humans have used solar power for centuries, we have only recently started figuring out how to harness, store, and distribute energy derived from solar power, the green technology for doing so efficiently increases exponentially with each new discovery. From better solar panels to stronger batteries to more efficient inverters, rapid development of solar technology means that the advantages of solar power far outweigh any disadvantages.
I have stayed in an earthship powered entirely by the sun, and you wouldn’t know you were using electricity provided by the sun and not by a coal-powered plant and the utility grid. Solar power is clean, renewable, and free for everyone on earth to access with the proper solar equipment — so let’s take a look at some of the advantages of using solar power energy.
Solar energy is completely renewable, as we can count on the sun to continue delivering its energy for billions of years to come. The majority of our current energy needs are met by burning fossil fuels, which are absolutely not a renewable source of energy! Once they are gone, they are gone — and then what will we do? If we are not ready to meet the energy demands of the future using renewable sources by the time fossil fuels run out, we may be in big trouble.
Using solar panels to power your home means that you aren’t polluting or using polluting energy sources. Most of our energy currently comes from coal-fired power plants, which are incredibly polluting and damaging to our environment. If everyone started making use of the advantages of solar energy, we could reduce pollution and dangerous emissions. Using solar power, we can even begin to slow down climate change by significantly cutting these emissions.
With zero moving parts, there is little opportunity for a solar energy setup to break down. Solar panels can silently do their work of providing clean energy on the roof or an array for decades (newer ones are guaranteed for 20 years), while batteries and inverters only need replacing every 10 years or so. Sure, panels could break from a heavy hailstorm, but how often has a storm caused a skylight in your house or your car windshield to break? Probably not too often, which would be the case for your solar panels. To keep the panels running efficiently, they only require being rinsed off once in a while to remove any dirt or dust that could be blocking the sunlight.
Yes, solar panels used to be very pricey. And yes, they can still be pricey today, especially if one doesn’t take full advantage of subsidies and tax incentives for going green provided by federal and state governments. But prices are constantly dropping, meaning solar panel installations are becoming available for more and more homeowners every year. And after the initial purchase of a solar setup, there are no more utility bills! So say you took out a equity line of credit on your home to buy yourself a solar panel set for your roof that will provided 100% of your energy needs. If it takes you 10 years to pay off that loan, every drop of energy you use after that is free for you. You are now off-grid and getting all your electricity from the sun, free of charge. Pretty cool, right?
When you can make and harness your own energy, you can be independent of needing other people, various fuels, and even entire countries and the oil they provide to us. Many wars have been and will continue to be waged in the name of oil supplies; solar (and other renewable energy sources like wind, etc.) allows us to be independent of such things, including a monthly electric bill once the panels are paid off!
As far as renewable energy sources go, buying and using solar power is one of the most efficient and accessible ways that the average person can “go green” at home. Solar panels require little maintenance, do not pollute, make no noise, and prices are dropping on an almost monthly basis. It is an ideal energy source that is provided free of charge by the sun every minute of every day; all we have to do is keep working to make our capturing, storing, and distribution of this energy more efficient for it to take on a greater role in powering our planet with clean, renewable energy for years to come.
The advantages of solar power are almost unending, so let’s hope that development of this technology continues at a breakneck speed so everyone can go solar in the near future!
Photo courtesy of ricketyus
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