Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Why Go Solar?

Why do we want to go in the direction of Solar Energy? Is it just because Leo said in his Oscar speech? Everyone knows what it does. 

Everything has its advantages and disadvantages, its pluses and minuses. So, naturally, there must be a number of solar power advantages and solar power disadvantages too, right? It’s been awhile since I ran down a list of solar power advantages and disadvantages, so I figured this topic was ripe for a refresher.

Solar Power Advantages

There are many solar power advantages worth noting. In no particular order (well, perhaps simply the order in which they come to mind), here are some of the top advantages:
clean energy sources
Solar power helps to slow/stop global warming. Global warming threatens the survival of human society, as well as the survival of countless species. Luckily, decades (or evencenturies) of research have led to efficient solar panel systems that create electricity without producing global warming pollution. Solar power is now very clearly one of the most important solutions to the global warming crisis.
Solar power saves society billions or trillions of dollars. Even long before society’s very existence is threatened by global warming, within the coming decades, global warming is projected to cost society trillions of dollars if left unabated. So, even ignoring the very long-term threat of societal suicide, fighting global warming with solar power will likely save society billions or even trillions of dollars.
Solar power saves you moneyPutting solar PV panels on your roof is likely to save youtens of thousands of dollars. The average 20-year savings for Americans who went solar in 2011 were projected to be a little over $20,000. In the populous states of New York, California, and Florida, the projected savings were over $30,000. In the sunny but expensive paradise known as Hawaii, the projected savings were nearly $65,000!
Beyond solar PV panels, it’s worth noting that solar energy can actually save you money in about a dozen other ways as well — with proper planning and household design choices.
Solar power provides energy reliability. The rising and setting of the sun is extremely consistent. All across the world, we know exactly when it will rise and set every day of the year. While clouds may be a bit less predictable, we do also have fairly good seasonal and daily projections for the amount of sunlight that will be received in different locations. All in all, this makes solar power an extremely reliable source of energy.
Solar power provides energy security. On top of the above reliability benefit, no one can go and buy the sun or turn sunlight into a monopoly. Combined with the simplicity of solar panels, this also provides the notable solar power advantage of energy security, something the US military has pointed out for years, and a major reason why it is also putting a lot of its money into the development and installation of solar power systems.

Solar power provides energy independence. Similar to the energy security boost, solar power provides the great benefit of energy independence. Again, the “fuel” for solar panels cannot be bought or monopolized. It is free for all to use. Once you have solar panels on your roof, you have an essentially independent source of electricity that is all yours. This is important for individuals, but also for cities, counties, states, countries, and even companies. I was recently in Ukraine touring various cleantech initiatives and projects. While there, I discovered that Ukraine in recent years has saved approximately $3 billion in reduced oil and gas imports from Russia thanks to the solar power plants developed by a single developer. Impressive.

If this isn't good enough a reason to look into this, I don't know what is!

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