We usually worry about whether or not the coming generations will be able to stand up for themselves and work towards improvement, but based on what we have seen so far, it is safe to assume that the coming generations just might be doing alright. Sick of the lack of initiative towards environmental care, a young Greta Thunberg started skipping school on Friday to protest for climate change, today this young girl has managed to inspire millions and start a discussion on the subject of how we can help the climate with her “Fridays for Future” walkouts and movement.
Similarly, Hemal Arora, a 10th-grade school student in Singapore understood the need for radical change when it comes to saving the environment, so he, along with his peers, was able to raise enough money to install solar panels on his roof and make his school run on clean energy. These are just two out of the many examples and incidences of children, school kids, and teenagers working towards reducing our carbon footprint and promoting clean energy.
When scientists around the world realized that a future that relies solely on fossil fuel to meet our energy is not sustainable, they started looking for alternatives. In a search to find a sustainable energy source scientists finally looked towards the sun as a possible solution. The sun is a ball of energy and has been providing enough energy to provide a life for this planet for billions of years, and is believed to continue doing that for another billion years, so why not use the sun as our new source of energy? It took a lot of research and work but eventually, scientists were able to construct solar panels as a medium to harness energy from the rays of the sun. Once they were successful in doing that, they found solar power to be one of the most efficient ways to produce electricity without creating any harmful byproducts in the process.
The Rise of Solar Power
After gaining success with solar panels, countries and governments around the world started looking at solar power with a renewed interest, and this interest helped to make solar power significantly more popular over the next few decades. Solar power is slowly being introduced on an industrial level and the residential level.
Solar panels and the entire setup were initially expensive, however, modern innovation and research helped create solar power setups that were not as costly to create, and hence easier on the consumer’s pocket. Different governments have also provided incentives in the form of extra income or tax exemptions for people and businesses that choose to go solar-powered, so that has also helped to motivate people into making the switch.
The main benefit of solar energy is the fact that it does not require any fossil fuel or harmful non-renewable resource, limiting the number of harmful emissions we add to the air, and the entire process of generating solar energy does not create any harmful waste or by-products, so you get to stay environmentally-friendly.
Carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide are two of the harmful by-products of fossil fuel combustion, and they contribute a lot to the greenhouse effect.
The sun is a limitless source of energy and scientists have estimated that just an hour’s worth of energy produced by the sun is more than enough to provide a year’s supply of electricity to everyone around the planet, which is ridiculous if you think about it.
If we talk about the costs, then we will find that to be a favorable outcome as well. Yes, buying and getting your solar panels installed is expensive in terms of the upfront cost, however, you will generate cheap energy which will then be free solar energy once you have managed to pay off the cost of your solar panels. Your average solar panel setup can last you up to 25 years, and it can take 5-8 years to meet the cost of your solar panels, so you get free electricity for years to come, so you will be good to go for a long while.
The Possible Health Implications of Going Solar
If you think about it, going solar energy will benefit all of our health, especially our respiratory health in the long run. The entire process of harnessing solar energy and converting it to electricity does not have any harmful by-products.
If we reduce the harmful emissions we are adding to the air, we can end up improving the overall air quality around us, and by having an atmosphere with fewer pollutants, dust, or other harmful gases, we can breathe better and people with cardiac and respiratory issues can feel better as well, so there is a health benefit that we need to stop overlooking here.
The New Trend
Solar power has been trending in scientific circles for the past 2-3 decades, and governments around the world have been directing their attention towards the subject in the last decade. Many countries around the world are looking to invest and promote solar energy, and not just solar energy, other renewable energy sources like water, wind, and geothermal energy is also being looked into.
Different countries have made different pledges for a more eco-friendly future. Costa Rica is looking to have zero carbon emissions by end of 2021. Scotland is investigating wind energy and is hoping to meet 98% of its energy requirements with it. Sweden will eliminate all fossil fuels and turn completely towards renewable energy by 2040. If you are looking at a poorer country, then Uruguay is currently able to generate almost all of its electricity from its wind and solar resources. Denmark is producing the most electricity generated from wind at the moment, and China is currently investing in both wind and solar energy.
The USA is also investing heavily in solar and wind energy and is looking to meet up to 50% of the country’s electricity needs by 2020 via renewable energy resources. Apart from that, the US government has also introduced some incentives to promote solar panel installation amongst its citizens.
Different countries are investigating, investing, and slowly promoting renewable energy, so we are currently in a race against time but the prospects are slowly beginning to look good, and if we work fast enough, we can prevent a global disaster.
Solar Energy For Our Homes
Solar panels are expensive and while they were initially used to just power space stations and work on an industrial scale, solar panels have now made their way to our homes, and even if we do not go fully solar-powered, there are still small ways we can reduce our carbon footprint by opting for solar-powered appliances like solar-powered lamps, cookers, lights and so on. All of these solar-powered appliances are affordable and allow you to start small and then hopefully move towards solar panels.
A lot of homeowners have found there to be several benefits with different solar-power appliances and these benefits can include the fact that no wiring or electrical connection is required, the batteries are charged during the day without any special work or instructions, they are not affected too much by the weather and can still be used during rains, are pretty sturdy and durable, look good, can be installed and placed anywhere, and just gives you a feeling of being more eco-friendly.
There are many different solar-powered appliances and devices, and this list includes and is not limited to:
Solar-powered lights can be used at home, and when outdoors as well, so if you happen to liking camping, hiking, and being outside, then this is great for you. It is a pretty simple setup that includes a bulb that is attached to a solar-powered rechargeable battery. Once the battery is fully charged, it can provide light for 8 hours straight. This is also a durable light which makes it great for outdoor use. It is lightweight, has no unnecessary wiring, and does not add to any harm to the current environment.
We already mentioned solar batteries when we talked about solar lights above, but they deserve a separate mention of their own. Solar batteries are charged by sunlight and they will store the energy for later use. The capacity of each battery as well as their charging time tends to vary depending on different models, so that is something you will have to further research.
Some batteries can even have multiple devices connected to them at a time, but again, this is just a few batteries and additional research will be needed to find them. Some websites are devoted to the subject and usually do a side-by-side comparison of different companies. This way you can look through and then buy the battery that is best able to meet your needs and requirements.
Solar Water Pumps
This is something you should look into if you are a farmer or someone that owns a substantial amount of fertile land. Solar powered-water pumps have been created to meet our irrigation needs. They work well for small farms, lands, and greenhouses so this isn’t meant for full-scale farming use yet. Solar water pumps make use of the power harnessed by the sun to distribute the rainwater that is collected in water butts.
A drip-water system is used which makes sure excess water is not used or wasted, so water is provided at certain intervals thanks to the presence of different detectors that can monitor the weather and the needs of the land before distributing water. This is a less wasteful and more eco-friendly way to farm and take care of the land.
Solar Christmas Lights
It seems silly at first when we read it, but solar-powered Christmas lights could be a great investment. A lot of have our houses and property covered in Christmas lights for at least all of December and sometimes till January as well, and when you put that into perspective, that is a lot of lights. If you want to celebrate Christmas and be environmentally-conscious whilst doing so, then opting or solar-powered Christmas lights would be a great step. Solar-powered string lights are safe, and they work well. The solar battery will continue charging throughout the day, and once we enter nighttime, the lights will illuminate your home throughout the night, and not affect your electricity bill in the process.
Solar-powered Mobile Chargers
Solar-powered mobile chargers come in the form of solar-powered power banks, and this is a great device to have on you regardless of whether you are at home, outdoors or on-the-go. Sunlight will charge the battery bank which will then be used to charge your phone, and the fact that most of these happen to be water-resistant and durable helps for when you are outdoors, so these small, portable devices are worth looking into.
Solar-powered Jump Starters
A dead car battery is one of our worst nightmares, and the last thing we want is to be stranded in our car, especially when it is dark, cold, or just us on the road. This is where you can make use of solar-powered car battery jump starters. They will be charged during the day, and you can use them in the dark and sunlight as well.
Solar-powered Garden Pumps
If you have a fountain in your garden or are looking to add a fountain in your garden, then having a solar garden pump might prove to be promising. This pump is powered by the energy of the sun and can recycle and work in a little water. This way water is not wasted and you are using clean energy to keep your garden lively and running. Sadly these pumps do not operate during the night but they are still useful and can even be used for birdbaths as they can stand being submerged.
These are just a few examples of solar-powered appliances that can we use in our daily lives, and if you find them to be useful and want to take the next big step, then opting for solar panels to power your home would be it. The energy/electricity that you are generating is ultimately free, and this energy is renewable so you are not contributing to removing our already limited supply of fossil fuel, and the energy being produced is clean and has no by-products that might be considered harmful.
Before you install your solar panels you need to keep in mind many things including your overall energy consumption, the amount of sunlight in your geographical location, if you have enough space to accommodate all of the solar panels that might be needed to power your home, your choice of material for your solar panels, the size of your storage battery and so on. It will take a lot of time and research before you are confident enough to get your solar panel setup completed and ready-to-go but it is better to take your time here rather than rushing things and potentially ending up with a system that is not working at its full potential.
Solar panels are a big investment in conclusion, and you want to make sure that you consider everything before getting your system set up. It will take time but there is a lot of promise to them, and if anything, the future will have to become one with renewable energy sources, or else this planet will not survive till the next century.