Truth and Lies in Solar Energy Solutions
When speaking of solar energy, it can be hard to identify what are true and what are false statements about solar power.
Individuals in favor of solar power claim it is the energy source of the future.
Individuals against solar power say the technology can never replace traditional fossil fuels.
- Solar energy is expensive: Sadly, this statement is true right now. The cost of installing a solar energy system can be up to 5 times that of a traditional energy source. According to the United States Department of Energy, supplemental home solar panels can cost up to $10,000 USD, and replacement systems can cost $20,000 USD or more. In the future, as solar technology advances, it is likely that the cost of solar energy will go down.
- Solar energy is renewable: This is completely true. Solar electricity is renewable as long as the sun exists. Even on cloudy days, most solar energy systems can absorb energy from the sun and convert it to useable energy in homes and businesses. Most systems also absorb extra energy on sunny days, which provide supplemental energy for overcast or rainy days.
- Solar energy is low-maintenance: This is also true. Most solar systems are labor intensive to install, and require professional installation. However, after the initial installation, the panels are designed to withstand severe weather conditions, including snow, rain, hail, high winds, and falling debris. If the system does require maintenance, it is usually easy and inexpensive.
- Solar energy can save money: This is completely true. Solar energy can provide supplemental replacement for fossil fuel energy, or replace it entirely. When you purchase a solar energy panel, you are providing yourself with a source of free energy for the next 20 to 30 years. Within just a few years, you will earn back the cost of the unit in energy savings and can start bringing in a profit.
- Solar energy doesn’t work on cloudy days: This statement is false. While some older solar systems had trouble in cloudy weather, newer solar panels can collect energy from the sun even on overcast days. These systems work by collecting the sun’s rays no mater how strong, just like you can still get a sunburn on a cloudy day.
- Solar energy isn’t worth the expense: This is a lie. While it is true that the initial cost of solar power can be high, if you ensure the purchase of a high-quality system with extended warranties and certifications, then your system will pay for itself in just a few short years. Even if you use one solar panel for supplemental energy, you will see benefits over time.
- Solar energy will prevent global warming: Unfortunately, this statement is a lie. Global warming is caused by a variety of factors, including fluctuations in the atmosphere, the production of carbon dioxide in the world, and many factors that scientists still do not know to this day. While solar energy can provide a significant reduction in the production of harmful emissions created by traditional fossil fuels, the use of solar-powered energy alone is not enough to prevent global warming.
- Solar technology is not a viable replacement for traditional fossil fuels: This is a huge lie. Solar technology has improved rapidly in just a few short years and is continuing to improve every day. Today, scientists are working to improve the performance of solar panels every day. Even in its current state, solar technology can act as a viable replacement for a substantial portion of traditional fossil fuel use. In the future, solar technology will provide even greater advances in the field of energy production, enabling countries around the world to rely less and less on traditional fossil fuel sources.
Knowing these basic facts about solar energy can help you make informed choices about the technology. In its current state, solar energy is a viable alternative and supplement to fossil fuel energy. In the future, solar technology will continue to improve and advance, making it a clear choice in the quest for sustainable energy options for small-scale energy replacement at home and large-scale energy production for entire countries. You can find out more about solar power services by reading about the case-studies here...
This is a guest post by Andras Deak, occasional guest on environmental science and full time enthusiast. Andras is currently working with Eco-Kinetics a great place to find solar power services, or to find solar panel installers.