As of 2022, the global environmental crisis has reached a fever pitch. Fossil fuel emissions, improper waste disposal, and deforestation have all resulted in severe air and water pollution as well as habitat loss for countless endangered species. It’s also impacted people, as the next generation has to face the possibility of growing up in an inhospitable world.
In light of these disheartening facts, it’s not surprising that so many are trying to fight back. Environmentalists continue to push big corporations to reduce greenhouse emissions and switch to sustainable energy sources. The most promising option currently dominating the market is solar energy.
Many say that solar power is the best alternative energy source for reversing climate change. However, very few people can confidently explain what it is, how it works, and why it’s so beneficial. If you’re considering making the switch but still have trouble understanding ‘what is solar energy’, here is a complete breakdown of one of Earth’s most valuable resources.
Solar Energy 101
Solar energy is all the rage at the moment. A lot of people are raving about all the amazing benefits it offers users — not just environmental but monetary too. Therefore you’re likely tempted to jump on the solar craze as well and reap the rewards.
However, before taking the plunge, you should first understand what solar energy is. As its name suggests, solar energy is the radiation produced by the Sun. That energy is subsequently converted into thermal or electrical power using specially constructed architecture such as solar panels.
When sunlight hits the panel surface, the photovoltaic cells absorb UV radiation. This creates an electrical charge that moves atoms in response to the electrical field in the cells. The result is a steady flow of electricity you can use to power your home and appliances or generate heat in the winter.
Solar power is currently the most abundant energy source we have available on the planet. In just one hour, the Sun produces a staggering 430 quintillion Joules of energy. In comparison, the entire world population consumes roughly 410 quintillion Joules over the course of an entire year. That makes solar energy the most abundant energy source we have on the planet.
What’s more, it’s entirely renewable. Traditional energy sources like gas, petroleum, and coal are finite. At the rate we’re currently consuming them, they will run out in the next 50-100 years. In comparison, it’s impossible to run out of sunlight. The Sun is an abundant energy source that everyone has equal access to. Therefore, it’s the most stable and equitable energy source we have at the moment.
Benefits of Solar
As established, solar energy is the greenest form of energy currently available. However, being eco-friendly alone often isn’t enough to incentivize people to make the switch.
If you’re someone that’s currently on the fence about solar, you’ll be pleased to know that this energy source has plenty of other advantages that make it worthwhile.
There is a pervasive belief that going solar is quite expensive. To an extent, this is true. The average cost of installing a solar panel set ranges from $3,500 to a whopping $35,000 for a large, premium-quality system. However, this is just an initial investment.
Once you install the panels, you immediately start saving money on energy bills. The average solar system can save up to $115 per month, by locking in the price of electricity at a constant rate. Over a year-long period, that amounts to a stunning $1,390.22 saved on energy bills alone.
So even though solar energy seems expensive, at the end of the day, it really does pay for itself.
2. Works in All Weather Conditions
Another big misconception about solar panels is that they don’t work in the winter. Fortunately, this couldn’t be further from the truth. The Sun never fully disappears from the sky, even when it’s overcast. Simply put, the panels will work no matter the weather conditions, making them a suitable investment for people the world over.
However, it’s important to note that poor placement and shade will affect the panels’ performance. Therefore, if you want to get the most out of your set, be sure to put it in direct sunlight.
3. Gives You Tax Benefits
Not only does solar help you save on energy bills, but it also gives you a tax rebate. In an effort to incentivize people to make the switch, the US government has started offering major tax credits to all homeowners who switch to solar.
That means that the government will return around 30% of the installation costs in the form of a federal tax income credit. As a result, you’ll be able to save upward of $7,500 on a $25,000 system. This is further proof that solar energy is definitely a gift that keeps on giving.
When it comes to energy sources we rely on to power our homes, none are as green as solar power. The radiation we can harness from the Sun is 100% renewable and equally accessible to everyone around the world, for very good prices. Likewise, generating electricity through solar panels doesn’t produce any greenhouse gasses or toxic waste. Thus, it’s the ultimate way to power your house while still preserving our planet.