Electricity is one of the most important inventions of the modern era. Consistent access to energy is a cornerstone of society. It is a priority for countries since their populations won’t be able to flourish until they have a steady supply that they can rely on. Electricity has become even more important as of late because necessary items such as smartphones and computers along with home appliances all need electricity to function. The only roadblock to constant energy access is the cost. Producing electricity costs money after all, just like everything else.
With the global population rising, electricity demand is higher than ever. What’s more is that the amount of energy each individual requires is increasing as well. This combination is leading to an exponential increase in energy requirements. Up until this point most of the world’s energy has been generated through fossil fuels. These fuels are pretty efficient, but they have two major problems. Firstly, using them is bad for the environment. Secondly, they are a finite resource. This means that at some point these fuels will run out, and new reserves aren’t found quickly enough to keep up with increased demand.
Solar energy has emerged as a contender for solving this issue. This is a form of energy that won’t run out. The sun isn’t going to out for billions of years after all. It’s renewable nature isn’t its only advantage either. Using this energy source is great for the environment. It doesn’t require any digging or habitat destruction. It also doesn’t produce any fumes or other harmful byproducts. This means that humanity’s energy demands can be met without harming the planet. After all, it doesn’t matter how much energy is being produced if acquiring this energy is rapidly making the planet impossible to live in.
Understanding how solar power works is essential to its propagation. A switch can’t be made until the people of the world have in depth knowledge about this energy source. The gist of it is that the sun sends its energy to Earth at a speed of 300,000 kilometers every second. When this energy breaks into the atmosphere of our planet, it turns into heat and light. Heat has commonly been utilized but sunlight is a new way to make use of this abundant energy source. This light is composed of particles called photons.
Using photons to create electricity is actually quite simple. Solar panels contain silicon based semiconductors. The photons react to the silicon atoms and energize the electrons present within. Once these electrons are freed they can be directed through external circuits. This is a Direct Current, and it is more or less the final electricity product that needs to be used. All that’s needed once the DC electricity is produced is an inverter. This inverter converts DC electricity into AC. AC electricity can then be used in any modern appliance or device.
Reasons For Switching to Solar Power
While solar power seems like a great option, it’s never been widely used before. Fossil fuels have worked just fine. They have allowed the world to become as prosperous and advanced as it is today. Why would anyone break away from an energy source that is so effective and has such a long history? Besides, what is that makes solar power so great anyway? All of these are valid questions that everyone should undoubtedly be asking. The good news is that all of these questions have solid answers. These answers form the basis for the current shift towards renewable energy sources, especially solar power.
It is important to note that the benefits of solar power aren’t just environmental. Protecting the environment is well and good but it can’t come at the cost of standards of living. Solar power has serious economic benefits as well. In the long run, it can make electricity cheaper for everyone. When compared with non renewable energy, the economic impact is vast. If you look at it long term, switching to solar power can help even very poor areas get steady and consistent power supplies. Hence, anyone that either cares about the environment or about lowering their utility bills would do well to read on.
This article is also an important resource for those who are skeptical. Skepticism is essential for advancement. You shouldn’t just accept solar power as the new energy paradigm. Rather, you must try to see the truth of the matter. We will attempt to address concerns that might make you hesitate before adopting solar power. There’s a good chance that you will fully understand the numerous advantages of solar energy and other renewable power sources once you are done reading this article.
Solar Power Reduces Greenhouse Gases
Greenhouse gases are a big problem for the world. These are emissions of carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide caused by the burning of fossil fuels. Since humanity relied solely on such fuels for energy, greenhouse gas emissions inevitably went up. These gases cause two specific problems.
The first problem is that they form a layer in the atmosphere that traps heat. Eventually, this heat collects in the atmosphere since it is unable to escape. Over time the trapped heat gradually increases average global temperatures. This is referred to as global warming.
The second problem is also quite serious. It involves the depletion of the ozone layer. This layer of ozone is pretty much the only thing protecting us from harmful solar radiation. If this radiation leaks through, it could cause massive damage to human lives. If emissions aren’t reduced, the ozone layer might disappear completely. Replacing it would be an almost impossible task. Once it is gone, the planet would be subjected to constant solar radiation. This won’t just put humanity’s future at risk. In fact, it would risk the future of all life on our planet.
There are three major contributors to emissions in the world, namely the US, the European Union and China. The former two need to maintain standards of living for people which requires energy production which leads to emissions. The latter is a rising power that is raising standards of living, and with such a large population increasing fossil fuel usage the eventual rate of emissions is skyrocketing.
The reasons for these areas producing emissions is the kind of power they use. They are dependent on coal and hydrocarbon based fuels. These fuels combust which produces steam. The steam is then used to turn turbines and produce power. The fuel combustion also releases the aforementioned carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide. This is an inescapable byproduct of combustion based fuel.
Apart from carbon dioxide and monoxide, other dangerous substances are also released. Sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide are also released, both of which are harmful if breathed in. Mercury and other heavy metals also enter the atmosphere. These metals can cause brain damage along with impeding cognitive development in children. Particular matter released can also do significant lung damage. Solar power does not produce nearly as many emissions. Switching to solar power can slow down the rate at which our bodies would get damaged since emission levels would stabilize and eventually start to decrease.
Solar Power Reduces Pollution
Humans often make the mistake of assuming that we are the only creatures worth saving on this planet. The thing is, we need to maintain the natural equilibrium. The pollution caused by the burning of fossil fuels is harming this natural equilibrium.
Take oil, for example. Obtaining oil is getting more and more difficult. The most effective oil wells are usually at the bottom of the sea. No matter how many precautions are put in place, oil spills are bound to happen. Whenever an oil spill occurs, it has a massive environmental cost. Fish and birds that live in those areas begin to die. Even if they don’t die, mutations begin to occur. Entire species are put at risk. Whenever one species dies out, another species that depended on it would be at risk of dying out too. If predators don’t have any prey, they will starve.
This creates a chain reaction that will inevitably affect us as well. We can’t regulate nature on our own, we need wildlife and natural flora to help us in this process. The more species that die out, the more inhospitable our planet will start becoming.
Polluted waters also affect us directly. We need clean water, after all. A lot of people also rely on fish as an important food source. Most fish have a lot of mercury in them due to pollution in the water. Eating these fish can be harmful for health.
Solar power can generate electricity without putting our ecosystem at risk. A modern and advanced human society is worthless if it exists on a barren and inhospitable planet after all. A priority for anyone that cares about these things should be to reduce their carbon footprint.
Your carbon footprint has a lot to do with what kind of energy you are using. Solar power is a great way to reduce this footprint. The carbon production is limited, and a lot of energy is produced. If enough people switch to using solar power, total carbon footprints can become much lower. This will help the planet move towards equilibrium once again. Some say that upsetting the natural balance was unavoidable. Humanity had to progress to this point and without fossil fuels it wouldn’t have happened. We have an alternative to those fuels now, though, and there are very few excuses that people can make it avoid this alternative.
Solar Power Costs Less Long Term
Encouraging people to save the environment is important. If this process costs too much, people just won’t go for it. It is therefore essential to comment on how cheap solar power can be. While many point to the initial costs of setting a system up, these costs matter less as time goes by. For a one time cost you can get a lot of free electricity. The money saved from not paying a power supplier utility bills can offset the initial expense. Many also refer to maintenance costs as a negative factor. Even if you include maintenance costs which would only be required occasionally, solar power is still cheaper in the long run than using grid supplied electricity.
Another thing to realize is that power grids are very inefficient. They waste a lot of power when they try to get it to you. They don’t just write these costs off, though. They factor the wastage into your energy bill. Hence, your per unit price is higher than it should be because of how inefficient the system is. Having your own solar power setup is cheaper because you won’t be wasting any energy.
It’s not just about saving money either. Having a solar system installed can earn you money as well. An average solar power setup generates way too much power for one household to make use of. You can store excess power in batteries, but once the batteries are full you would need somewhere to send the excess power. If you send the power back to the grid you can earn money in the form of credits which can go towards reducing your bills if you still use some grid power. This is known as net metering. It can gain you a profit if you use no electricity from the grid and are also sending power back to it.
Power supply companies are a little uncooperative in this regard, though. Even though you are sending them electricity, they will not give you credits that are of a fair value. Instead they would give you a lower per unit rate. In spite of this unfairness, you can still earn a little from solar power usage. This makes it a pretty great financial choice for anyone to make.
Solar Power is Becoming More Popular
The demand for energy is increasing too fast. It is unlikely that fossil fuel companies would be able to keep up. More and more are turning to solar power each year because of this reason. The increasing pollution of our planet is also becoming tough to deal with. Many areas directly impacted by emissions and pollution see no other option than to switch to solar power. It has too many environmental and economic advantages to be suppressed any longer. The solar revolution is here, and its growth has become unstoppable. It’s fair to say that solar power is the way of the future and fossil fuels will soon be seen as an outdated energy source.
That said, what does this mean for you? How does the increasing popularity of solar power benefit you at all? For starters, it means cheaper technology for you to make use of. High demand means that a lot of innovation is being done in this field. It also means that you are in a good position to profit from this. If you invest in solar power now, you will be ahead of the curve. As demand for solar power increases, you will be in a position to help supply it to people. This is a great future way to earn money.
How Much Solar Power Does The Average Person Require?
Assessing how much solar energy you would need involve you first ascertaining your average daily power usage. There are two ways you can go about this. If you just want a number that you can use and get it over with, just check your most recent electricity bill. It will have the number of kilowatt hours that you use over a month. Check a few different bills so that you can come up with an average.
This is the easy way, but there is an even better way to go about doing this. Instead of relying on your bill, make a list of all of the electronic products and appliances you have. You will also need their power ratings which can tell you how much electricity they use. Next you should calculate how many hours you use each appliance or device. For example, you probably use each of your light bulbs for about twelve hours each. If you iron clothes in the morning, you would be using this for about 0.5 hours. Calculate total hours of usage by the power rating to get an estimate of how many kilowatt hours of energy you require.
If you need an example to help you out, we’ve got you covered. Take light bulbs for instance. If each bulb uses 100 watts per hour and you turn it on for six hours a day, this adds up to 600 watt-hours or 0.6 kilowatt hours. Add up all daily energy requirements like this and you would come up with a number that can be used to determine what kind of a system you would want to set up.
Next you should decide how much of your daily power needs you want to fulfill with solar power. If you want all of your electricity to come from solar power, the cost of your system would go up. You would need batteries to store energy for use at night when the sun isn’t out. More panels might also be required to keep up with energy usage. However, going for half of your energy coming from solar power can be cheaper. You would need fewer solar panels and no battery would be required. You can simply use solar power during the day and switch to grid power at night.
You can also use solar power for some appliances and grid power for others. Running your HVAC on solar power can be useful, for example. HVACs and air conditioners use the most electricity. If you run these items on solar power it can lead to a much lower bill. Going all the way with solar power isn’t necessary. It has its own benefits but it can cost a lot too. Hence, some people try to get half their required electricity through solar power. The grid can easily take care of the rest. Credits earned through net metering might even bring your bill down to zero for everything else.
So, what have we learned from all of this? Firstly, solar power is a clean form of energy that does not harm the environment. Secondly it can be quite cost effective in the long run. All you need to do to make use of solar power is to calculate how much energy you need based on how many appliances you have and how often you use each of them. After this you can decide to go completely solar or meet the power grid halfway by using solar power for some appliances and grid power for others.