What Are Some Advantages of Solar Energy

There is a definite push in recent months to go ‘green.’  Everywhere you turn, green energy is a buzzword on people’s minds.  This green movement is an environmental movement geared towards using renewable energy sources rather than fossil fuels.  Renewable energy is popular because the earth has a finite, limited amount of fossil fuels in reserve.  Fossil fuels also produce pollution and wastes, which have ill effects on the environment.  But do these reasons make research and development into alternative energy sources, and specifically solar power, viable?

First, we need to answer the question “What are some advantages of solar energy?”  Solar energy is derived from the sun.  Its light is harvested through solar panels and converted into electrical power.  Except for a few areas on the earth, at least half of the days each year are sunny.  As long as the sun doesn’t burn out, we will never run out of this source, and will have ‘free’ energy.  Solar energy does not produce emissions or other waste products, except for batteries, which don’t die for a very long time.  Solar power for homes can be provided even when the electricity grid goes down.

Based on these advantages, solar energy is a viable long-term renewable energy solution.  But lets not fail to consider the disadvantages of solar energy.  The major hinderance for the widespread use of residential solar panels is the immense cost.  True, utility bills will become cheaper, but only after a huge initial investment.  To break even on an electric bill which costs $100 monthly would require approximately a 25 fold investment to install the system.  Only after roughly 25 years would the system eventually pay for itself .  Another disadvantage is the fact that some municipalities and HOAs don’t allow the installation of solar panels.  Also, if you happened to live in an area that receives less sunlight (Seattle), it will cost more to capture enough solar energy to pay the bills.

On the bright side (literally), the cost of solar technology is going down.  Because going ‘green’ is politically savvy and favorably looked upon by public opinion, it doesn’t take much to change HOA rules or city ordinances.  Solar energy is one of many possible energy fixes for the future, but only after the prices drops considerably.

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