We are living in a time of great crisis. While humanity has advanced quite a bit, our future looks dimmer each year. Global warming is a big part of this. Human civilization has sacrificed a lot of our planet’s health in our search for technological advancement. For the first time in our history, we are starting to look far into the future. According to scientists, the likelihood that humanity will survive into the next century is very small unless we completely eliminate all emissions within the next decade.
Many people would say that this is an alarmist claim that has no bearing in the real world. They would also say that a goal like this is impractical since we rely too much on fossil fuels as an energy source. The thing is, going emission free is actually possible. With modern technological advancements, energy production without any emissions isn’t just possible anymore. Rather, it is an easier way to do things. This is because we have options like solar power to take advantage of. Renewable energy is the only way we can move forward with society. Solar power is the best option in this regard, but it is important to get more detailed looks into whether or not it is viable for our future.
Switching to solar power can solve a lot of humanity’s problems. Emissions from cars are causing a lot of damage. Switching to electric cars powered through solar energy can eliminate these emissions entirely. Fossil fuel extraction causes a lot of damage to the environment. Solar power can be acquired without doing any such damage. Water quality can be maintained. Ecosystems can thrive. All of this can happen while humanity continues its massive growth both technologically as well as socially.
It’s not just about global warming and water and air pollution either. Sound pollution caused by noisy cars is a real problem in most cities. Since cities are the most appealing places for people to live, a solution to this is required. Solar powered cars won’t cause nearly as much noise pollution. This can greatly increase quality of life. It’s important to remember that solar power can solve vague and ill defined societal issues like noise pollution as well. It is a necessary step for our species to take before we can build sustainable societies for people to live in.
We are going to attempt to explain the intricacies of solar power. Most people feel daunted by the switch simply because they don’t know enough. A little bit of information can be sufficient for dispelling hesitation among the average consumers. We are going to start off by explaining what solar energy actually is. We will follow this up by giving examples as to how it can be used. Finally, we will provide a real world example of solar energy being successfully used. All of this should be enough to convince people that solar power might be the only efficient way to move forward.
Solar Power: What Exactly is It?
Solar power refers to any energy that is derived from the sun. The energy of the sun reaches Earth in two forms: light and heat. We have been using solar energy for thousands of years now. Agriculture is now possible without it. Using the sun to grow plants is a primitive but valid use of solar power. Heat from the sun is also used quite often. Modern technology is very different though. Instead of just using the sun’s raw light or heat, we convert this raw energy into electricity that can be used to power modern appliances.
Light from the sun is generally used here rather than heat. While heat can be useful as well, especially when producing geothermal energy, electricity made out of sunlight is a lot more efficient as well as better for the environment. Solar panels are able to use sunlight to create electricity. This is possible through a chemical reaction caused by photons hitting negative and positive charged sheets of silicon based solar cells. Eventually the electrons in the silicon run out and the cells need to be replaced. This takes at least two decades to happen, though, which means that a solar panel can provide electricity for at least twenty years before it needs an upgrade.
A few factors need to be taken into consideration here, though. Firstly, the amount of solar power produced is entirely dependent on how much sunlight an area gets. Places that don’t get a lot of sunlight won’t be able to fulfill energy requirements. If sunlight is in abundance, solar panels can be put up anywhere and they will probably produce a lot of energy. In areas where sunlight is limited, angles can be calculated to ensure maximum sunlight exposure during the precious few hours of the day.
Energy storage is also a major priority when it comes to solar power. While the sun is an abundant source of energy, it does eventually set. During night hours when the sun isn’t shining there is no real way to produce solar power. Luckily most solar panels produce a surplus of energy during the stay which can be stored in batteries. Power can be drawn from these batteries through the night, allowing solar energy to provide constant electricity to people even if power doesn’t get generated once the sun has set.
Anyone that wants to implement solar power usage on a large scale needs to be aware of these factors. Optimal power production needs to be calculated before a project can be initiated. Taking into account total sunlight hours, optimal solar panel angles as well as storage capacities is all essential. Failing to factor in such things can lead to an ineffective distribution of solar powered electricity. Hasty implementations of solar power usually lead to a lot of problems. These problems can then incorrectly be associated with solar power itself rather than a poorly implemented plan to make use of this otherwise excellent energy resource.
Uses For Solar Power And Their Benefits
Solar power isn’t just a monolith that can power everything. It has very specific applications as well. A common complaint levied against solar power is that a full system is expensive to implement. This is why individual appliances powered through solar energy are so important. Things like solar powered light bulbs are particularly effective. Rural areas in developing countries face a lot of energy shortages. With a bulb that uses solar energy, a lot of these shortages can be mitigated. A simple light source can be enough to greatly improve people’s quality of life.
Solar powered vehicles are particularly useful. Cars in particular are a problem for the world. While they facilitate easy transport and can help individuals remain mobile, the sheer number of cars on the road causes a lot of pollution. Using solar power can reduce these emissions without forcing people to abandon the most convenient short distance transportation option available.
It can also reduce costs. Instead of paying for fuel whenever they are running low, people can just keep their cars charged with solar panels. This can make it impossible for you to be stuck in the middle of nowhere because you’re out of gas and there are no gas stations nearby. This can improve how connected the world is too. For example, if you want to go on a long road trip you won’t have to worry about how much fuel this will use. You can also travel with ease since long stretches of road that don’t have any facilities will becoming easier to traverse.
Solar powered cars aren’t just beneficial, they are a big money earner too. Cars like the Lightyear One and the Tokai Challenger are already available for people to buy. The benefits of solar powered cars are becoming increasingly well known. People are also getting wealthier on average. This means that there are going to be a lot more future willing to bear the initial costs of solar powered vehicles for their long term benefits. They would also have plenty of options in the market too since many businesses are recognizing the profits that can be made from tapping into this emerging market. At this rate, solar powered cars might just become the standard. Instead of just two or three options, the average consumer would have dozens or maybe even hundreds.
Other forms of travel can also be facilitated using solar power. Solar powered RVs are a popular way for people to live off the grid. They are fully self sustaining. People that prefer a travel based lifestyle can benefit a lot from this. Vans and buses powered with solar energy are also great for public transportation. They can remove fuel costs as a factor in providing people with easy public transportation options. While the initial cost might be steep, it is more or less a one time thing. After solar public transport is implemented, zero fuel costs means that passengers can be charged a much lower fare.
Perhaps the most important use of solar power is in long distance transportation. Both boats and planes use up a lot of fuel. Planes in particular are very bad for the environment. Their fast travel times mean that more fuel is required than average. Hence, long distance transport is at the mercy of oil prices. The higher fossil fuels cost, the higher the average boat or plane ticket will cost as well.
While solar powered boats and planes are obviously more expensive than old school models, they require very little expense once they start operating. Both forms of transport have easy access to sunlight which means that fuel costs will no longer be factored into ticket prices. People won’t just be able to get from one country to another easily, it will become cheaper as well. This can contribute to a far more well connected world.
Eliminating fuel costs by using solar energy can also really improve trade. Goods that need to be imported from far away cost a lot because of how much fuel is used in bringing them there. If a limitless and free supply of energy is utilized, the only costs that would need to be borne would be the costs of the shipping vessels themselves as well as payment for laborers involved in the shipping. Hence, a global switch to solar powered long distance travel could mean far cheaper imported goods for everyone. Countries would also be more eager to do trade since it would be cheaper. In this manner, solar energy could potentially benefit the entire global economy and help lift a lot of countries out of poverty.
Farming can also be greatly improved with solar energy through the use of solar irrigation systems. Even things as mundane as children’s toys can make use of solar energy.
This means that no fuel will be extracted from the ground. Getting from one place to another won’t emit gases that cause global warming. When you buy toys for your kids, you won’t need to get batteries which would soon be thrown away and can leach harmful chemicals into the ground.
What’s great about solar power is that using it isn’t just about how much more efficient and cost effective it is. It’s also one of the only viable energy solutions that can fulfill global demand whilst greatly reducing the harm done to the environment.
Previously, saving the planet seemed like a choice between preserving our ecosystem by stopping human progress or letting humans advance and sucking the planet dry. Solar energy provides a great middle ground. A modern, advanced lifestyle can be lead whilst maintaining an equilibrium with nature. This may very well be the greatest advancement in human history, and it will be an important step towards the human race maturing and developing a deeper understanding of the world as well as the vast universe that lays beyond.
An Example of Successful Solar Power Implementation
Everything we have said so far is factual. However, until a practical application of this technology is demonstrated, most people won’t be willing to trust words on a screen. The good news is that there are several examples of successful solar power implementation. The vast majority of these examples have lead to concrete improvements in economic conditions and standards of living. What’s truly amazing is that developed countries are the ones making the most progress here. This is because most developing countries happen to be in hot areas that get lots of sunlight. An oppressive force that was once something to hide from is now becoming the very thing these countries can use to grow to their full potential.