Solar energy is getting more attractive year by year. Last year, the International Energy Agency (IEA) published its 464-page “Outlook 2020.” It named solar power as the “cheapest electricity in history.”
In most nations, solar energy is now cheaper than coal and gas.
Low cost represents just half of the equation that makes solar energy an important power source of the future. The other side of that equation is the benefits it brings to the environment. Most people are aware that solar energy is “clean, green energy,” but some of the advantages of solar may surprise you. Let’s look at five major factors:
Conservation of Water
Industry analysts call “water the new oil.” The Financial Times recently reported that we are rapidly approaching the time when water will be more valuable than crude oil or natural gas. This is especially true of countries like Australia and for areas of the United States, especially the southwestern desert states, such as Arizona and Nevada.
The fact is, fossil fuel energy uses a lot of water for things like cooling generators, refining and processing crude oil and transporting it through pipelines. However, generating solar energy with solar panels uses no water at all. About the only water needed for a solar panel is what's used for the occasional cleaning to keep dust off the panels!
Reduction of Air Pollution
We all know that coal plants emit smoke from their stacks. The concept of “clean coal” is simply a myth. It’s true that modern technology has found ways to significantly reduce the pollutants of coal by using filters and chemical additives to the coal itself. However, true carbon sequestration has proven to be elusive and exorbitantly expensive. Removing pollutants from the smoke of coal requires techniques that make it prohibitively expensive. Switching to alternatives energies like solar is simply a better solution.
Reduces Your Personal Carbon Footprint
Fighting climate change is the responsibility of every person on the planet. Millions of people today are buying apps and/or otherwise looking for ways to lower their carbon footprint. One of the biggest ways you can do that is to consider solar panels for your home. For example, for every kilowatt of solar energy you generate, your home’s carbon footprint is reduced by 3,000 pounds every year.
That means an average five-kilowatt solar system for a house translates to 15,000 pounds of C02 you eliminate annually!
Freedom from Fossil Fuels
It’s not just that fossil fuels choke the atmosphere with too much carbon and other pollutants. Dependence on foreign sources of fuel has historically created geopolitical tensions -- and not just for the United States. Europe, for example, is heavily dependent on fossil fuels piped in from Russia. Energy independence through renewables like solar will lessen international tensions and may even prevent future wars.
Slow Climate Change
The warming planet is widely considered the greatest existential threat of our times. Every solar panel erected on a home or business location reduces that threat. Multiply that by millions of solar panels on millions of homes, and the effort to slow or reverse climate change becomes a powerful force. It gives all life on the planet hope that we can make the world a better place for our children.