The discussion on whether solar energy outshines the relevance and need for fossil fuels in the provision of electricity is one that seems never ending. There are those who would argue that solar energy is better for the environment because it reduces the production of greenhouse gases, and there are those who would argue it’s too expensive to buy. Either way, one thing is for sure: the experts all agree that the advantages of solar energy outweigh any disadvantages.
The good, the bad, and the ugly
First, the good. Solar energy has the ability to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels, which is critical if we are to improve the state of climate change. Additionally, solar energy is renewable and can provide electricity to hundreds, if not thousands, of people with nothing more than the sun as its energy source. With the utilization of solar power, many people will have their electricity bills drastically reduced or eliminated, all while ensuring the reduction of a loss of electricity due to power line resistance. Energy independence is also one of the great wonders of solar energy because it allows those in developing countries to have electricity with the help of only a few solar panels. With so much good, you might wonder what could possibly be bad, correct? Well, the bad isn’t really something that would eliminate the need for a power source that would have the ability to generate energy from something that we receive at no cost throughout our lives: the sun.
Now, let’s discuss the bad and the ugly. Many critics of solar energy state that the biggest concern that they have is the fact that solar solutions are not feasible when the sun isn’t shining. They argue that solar power would be null and void on both cloudy days and at night. Additionally, critics argue that the up-front investment cost is high and that it takes years to pay for itself. To address these concerns, many solar experts argue that wind turbines would also serve to provide much needed energy sources to individuals who rely on solar power. With the help of both renewable sources, individuals would have consistent electricity throughout the day, regardless of the weather. As for the cost, many experts state that the up-front investment will save in the overall scheme of things considering the cost of electricity would be eliminated in most cases. Additionally, many people choose to utilize the pay-as-you-go option for solar panels that can be used at their homes, rather than waiting on their government to pay for and build centralized plants.
With the use of solar energy, we can ensure that the contribution to thermal pollution of waterways will be eliminated. We can also use solar energy for remote applications; satellites, rural hospital equipment in developing countries, and even telecommunication equipment. We will have energy independence for all and will double our efforts in saving our planet. When you think of all the good that the world would receive from solar energy, it becomes difficult to see how anything less would suffice.
Editor’s note: The storage problem is on the verge of being solved. This will be the subject of an upcoming article.