Does Solar Energy Really Help the Environment?

In the middle of 2019, the world’s largest lithium ion battery was assembled in China. Once complete, it was capable of storing enough energy to power a city of 300,000 for a day. The sheer size of this device – the size of two shipping containers – indicates the enormous amount of lithium needed to fuel modern society. Sadly, the demand for lithium is causing devastating damage to the environment. From grazing cattle to ploughing fields, the mining of lithium is having a devastating impact on nature. In addition, the batteries themselves are highly corrosive and dangerous.

The good news is that we can wean ourselves off of fossil fuels and onto a renewable energy source. Just recently, the sun became the world’s largest lithium ion battery. As a result, it’s now possible to generate enough renewable energy to power every home on the planet. That’s right – with enough solar panels and batteries, we can bring the power of the Sun right to our homes.

Does solar energy help the environment? While the technology certainly has its critics, the evidence points to yes. In fact, solar energy contributes to better air quality due to its low carbon footprint, and it reduces our dependence on fossil fuels. In the next few years, we will see an avalanche of new solar projects being built. Thankfully, the technology is so effective that even the most ardent skeptic will be hard pressed to find any negatives.

How Does Solar Work?

Photovoltaic (PV) solar power generation uses a photo-voltaic cell to convert sunlight directly into electricity. This is in contrast to thermal solar, where heat is converted into electricity (via a steam turbine or an electric turbine).

Regardless of which method of generation you opt for, the electricity produced by solar is intrinsically green energy. The PV cell is a semiconductor that creates electricity when illuminated by sunlight – and the only byproduct is heat, which is usually reabsorbed by the environment (water or air). The good news is that we can harness this abundant energy source and use it to generate all of our electricity needs. Plus, unlike fossil fuels, solar power does not produce large emissions.

The Growth Of Solar Energy

The growth of solar energy over the last decade has been nothing short of phenomenal. From just 300 megawatts in 2008 to over 27 gigawatts in 2018, solar energy capacity more than doubled. As you would expect, the majority of this capacity was added in China, which overtook the United States as the largest manufacturer of solar cell equipment in 2018. Just last year, China surpassed the U.S. as the world’s largest economy. This should come as no great surprise; the country has been investing heavily in solar energy for some time.

Since 2008, over 150 gigawatts of PV solar capacity have been installed worldwide. Based on the assumption that each unit produces an average of 2.5 kW per hour, this would mean that PV solar power could supply enough electricity for over 300 million people. In 2018, there were over 2.7 billion people globally who lacked access to electricity. This is where solar energy comes in. The panels don’t need maintenance, and they don’t require huge footprints like coal- or gas-fired power plants.

Why Bother With Solar?

If you’re looking for an energy source that’s cheap and readily available, then it’s a no brainer that you should go with solar. Thanks to its worldwide prevalence in terms of both installation and capacity, it’s the most popular alternative energy source for homeowners and small businesses. Many utilities offer solar power as an addition to their conventional energy supply. This allows users to generate their own electricity and reduce their reliance on traditional sources of energy.

Perhaps the most useful thing about solar energy is its ability to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. The electric vehicle revolution has demonstrated that we can wean ourselves off of fossil fuels and onto a renewable energy source. If you think about it, solar energy provides us with an abundant and virtually limitless source of fuel for electricity generation. The only byproduct is heat, which is usually reabsorbed by the environment. This makes it a sustainable option for powering our homes and businesses. In fact, solar energy generation reduces our carbon footprint and improves our air quality. This is due to its low carbon footprint.

The Pros And Cons Of Solar Energy

Now, it’s important to note that while solar energy reduces our dependence on fossil fuels, it doesn’t do the same for greenhouse gases. These gases are produced when fossil fuels are burned. The good news is that we can combat climate change by switching to clean energy sources like solar. As our planet heats up, the role of a sustainable energy source like solar becomes even more important.

The main cons of solar energy are its lack of availability in some parts of the world and the fact that it’s not suitable for all homeowners or businesses. First and foremost, solar energy is dependent on sunshine to generate electricity. In areas where sunshine is scarce, this energy source wouldn’t work, no matter how cheap it is. To counter this, companies like HeliSolar have designed and patented a way to utilize sunlight and heat to generate electricity even in cloudy weather. This allows for greater energy output and minimizes the effects of bad weather on the process.

The second con of solar energy is its suitability for home or business use. While most homeowners and small businesses can fit a solar energy system, it’s not always the most eco-friendly or cost-effective option. This is why many businesses choose to go with a bigger system (which requires more space) or opt for a cheaper but less efficient solution (like fluorescent lighting or an unvented hot-plate). For homeowners, the main con is that not all houses are designed to handle the extra weight and cost that comes with solar. If you live in an area prone to heavy snowfall or strong winds, then you might want to consider other options. Finally, some people believe that the installation of solar energy reduces home value as it adds some weight and cost to the property. However, this doesn’t have to be the case as long as you do the right thinking and research before you invest. It’s never a good idea to buy premanufactured solar energy systems as you may end up with something that’s not working well or at all.

How To Choose A Suitable Solar Energy Solution For You

If you’re interested in generating your own electricity and can afford the initial outlay, then it’s an attractive option to consider. As a homeowner, it’s always good to be informed about the various energy sources and how they work. With the Sun now being used to generate electricity, you can learn more about solar energy and put it to good use.

When looking for a suitable solar energy solution for your home or business, it’s important to weigh up the pros and cons. If you can, get an expert to help you make a decision, as it’s not always an easy one. Depending on your circumstances, you might want to opt for a smaller system for homes with one or two people, or go bigger if you’re running a business or have more than two or three people to feed. The main thing to keep in mind is that not all solar energy solutions are created equal, and you need to do your research before you buy something that’s not up to the mark.

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