What would you do if the world went dark? We spend so much of our time using electricity that we can’t fathom what it would be like to live without it.
Thankfully, it’s very unlikely that we will ever have to find out. Even as we seek to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, renewable sources of clean energy — like solar power — are stepping in to fill the void.
The Blessing of the Sun
There’s a reason Superman would recharge himself with the sun. It’s a virtually boundless source of energy. Every day, the amount of energy shining down on the US alone is enough to power the entire country for a year and a half.
As a source of energy, you can’t get much better. Generating the energy itself costs nothing. Building an infrastructure to harness the power of the sun is a little pricey, but the ongoing maintenance cost is minimal. Plus, innovation and better technology are making it even cheaper to produce the equipment needed to harness the power of the sun.
Some experts expect that the US and many other parts of the world will be running almost completely on solar power as early as 2030. It’s also expected that as the technology becomes more accessible, this source of free energy will be a huge blessing to many of the world’s poorest. We’ve already seen the benefit for 20 million people living in rural Bangladesh who now have access to affordable energy.
The sun produces plenty of power, often far more than necessary to meet demand. On a power grid, that means energy prices can go negative. The problem is that the sun also goes away, which creates a need for storing the excess to use during the down times.
At this point, energy storage on a grand scale is still too expensive to be practical, one of the major brakes on widespread solar energy. However, there is still great interest in pairing energy storage with solar energy and innovative minds are on the job.
Solar Energy and the Environment
Solar energy is a renewable source that is far cleaner for the environment than burning fossil fuels to make electricity. However, though the impact is much less, it still isn’t perfect. The manufacture of the solar panels themselves produces emissions and makes use of potentially harmful industrial chemicals.
It’s expected that once solar energy is deployed on a wide scale, innovative minds will turn to the next challenge. They’ll need to figure out how to reuse existing panels or create new ones through a cleaner process. In other words, there’s plenty of work to be done in this exciting sector.
The Future Is Bright
It’s a thrilling time for those in the solar industry. I don’t know about you, but we here at Envirosolar Power couldn’t be more excited about what the next few years could hold. We could be a mere decade away from widespread solar use and drastically reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. We can feel the Earth already smiling at the thought!