Solar power is starting to finally be seen as our obvious energy source. The numerous benefits of solar power is ensuring its rapidly growing adoption rates.
The cumulative advantages of solar power are truly amazing. First of all, there really is no other source of energy quite like it. It is the only significant source of energy that can produce electricity directly from sunlight. Most other major sources of power are created by using steam to turn a turbine which creates electricity. This now seems archaic. The advantage of solar photovoltaics lies in its simplicity – no moving parts required and no CO2 emissions created during use.
Solar’s first difference, how it produces energy, helps set the stage for describing the two primary categories in which it benefits us the most – Environmentally and Economically.
Solar power’s potential as an environmentally friendly source of energy has long been known. However, it has only recently been economically viable to be adopted on a mass scale. Now that solar is cost competitive, its ability to “shine” from an environmental perspective is now beginning to be fully realized.
The environmental benefits of solar energy are quite numerous. Here are the main ones –
- Solar does not pollute the air, unlike fossil fuels.>
- Solar does not create radioactive waste, unlike nuclear power.
- Solar is renewable. We will always have solar energy.
- Solar is virtually maintenance free as there are no moving parts involved. Less parts equals less carbon footprint.
- Solar cells can last many decades – further reducing its carbon footprint.
Here is what the average sized – 5,000 watt solar panel system can do over a 25 year timeframe –
- Prevent 250,000 pounds of CO2 from entering our atmosphere.
- Offset the equivalent emissions of a car driving 150,000 miles.
- Have the same CO2 reducing effect of 21,700 square feet of trees.
Over a 30 year time frame –
- 3,000 trees planted
- 20 cars taken off the road for a year
- 0.6 railcars of coal not burned
- 40 tons of waste recycled instead of landfilled
- 1.6 tanker trucks of gasoline not burned
These characteristics of solar power make it the obvious choice from an environmental perspective. What about its other benefits? Let’s take a look at the economic advantages of solar power.
Solar power is now not only economically viable, but actually cheaper than fossil fuel energy in many cases. Solar now has the ability to allow everyone from homeowners to large power companies to save money over the long term.
Here are some micro-economic or residential scale benefits –
- Average savings of at least $10,000 over a 20 year period.
- Hedge against future electricity rate increases through an investment in a solar panel system.
- Along with the near future availability of affordable battery back up storage, the ability to prevent power loss due to a black out.
Here are some macro-economic or nationwide solar benefits –
- The overall strengthening of the American economy through homeowner owned solar power.
- Solar allows for a more resilient grid by offsetting peak demand.
- Solar power is extremely versatile. It can be installed at all scales.
- Solar is spurring the much needed upgrade of our nation’s power grid.
- Solar is helping reduce our reliance on imported fossil fuels.
- As a distributed power source, solar is leveling the energy playing field – power monopolies are beginning to corrode.
After considering the benefits of solar panels so far, the full value of this source of energy can not be denied. Solar energy advantages more than make up for any current drawbacks, the only major one being current lack of adequate energy storage options. This is only temporary as it appears to be only a matter of time before the storage issue is solved.
Increasingly, homeowners are seeing the many benefits of going solar. Whether done solely for financial reasons, environmental, or both – the fact remains that solar power is now the one to choose. Read the environmental benefits of solar page for more information.