Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve most likely heard plenty about solar energy. From its ability to reduce your electricity bills to its eco-friendly nature, solar power is famous for its long list of benefits. But despite being the most popular form of clean energy, there is still a lot of mystery surrounding solar energy. As a result, many people are still on the fence about making the switch to solar power. Luckily, we are here to take an in-depth look and share everything you need to know about solar energy.
What is Solar Energy?
To put it simply, solar energy is a form of energy that comes from the sun and is harvested using solar panels. And, since it doesn’t release any greenhouse gases, it is one of the cleanest sources of energy in the world. Not only that but it doesn’t require anything else than water to function, which makes it effective. As such, it is constantly growing in popularity, with over 46% of US citizens considering switching to solar energy.
How Solar Panels Generate Electricity?
In order to harvest solar energy, you need to rely on solar panels made out of photovoltaic cells. The panels capture sunlight and then convert it into either heat or electricity, depending on your specific needs. For instance, you can use solar energy to heat a water tank or use a battery to store it for later use.
Is Solar Energy Truly Eco-Friendly?
As previously mentioned, solar energy does not emit greenhouse gases, yet, the process of manufacturing panels does. Why? Because they are made using glass, plastics, and caustic chemicals. Therefore, the manufacturing process produces waste and releases CO2, contributing ever so slightly to global warming.
However, solar panels are less dangerous to the environment than fossil fuel-based energy sources. And even though most panels are not recyclable, new technologies will allow the reuse of solar cells, which reduces waste.
How Much Does it Cost?
At first glance, it might seem like installing solar panels is extremely expensive, with prices that can reach as much as $25,000. And while that is a lot, it’s important to consider that government subsidies such as the Federal Solar Tax Credit can reduce the installation price considerably.
Additionally, solar energy will reduce your electricity bills, allowing you to save money. As a result, you will be able to make up the invested amount in a couple of months or years. And, due to Net Metering, you can even get credit for any excess electricity that you add to your local grid. In other words, no matter how you put it, switching to solar energy has a high return on investment.
Is Solar Energy Reliable?
It’s true that a lot of people are questioning solar energy’s reliability, especially considering the price of solar panels. Fortunately, thanks to the use of high-quality materials, solar panels are extremely reliable. As a matter of fact, with proper maintenance and regular inspections, they can last up to 30 years.
Is it Worth Switching to Solar?
Understanding how solar energy works is the first step in deciding if it’s worth giving it a shot. However, whether switching to solar energy is worth it depends entirely on personal preference. On the one hand, solar energy can help you protect the environment while also saving you money in the long run. On the other hand, it requires quite a hefty investment, and not everybody can afford to give it a shot.
Nevertheless, one thing is clear — solar energy is here to stay, with more and more households installing their own solar panels.