As the climate changes and renewable energy sources become more popular, more businesses and organizations are realizing the benefits of going green. In fact, over 2.2 million US businesses have already switched to renewable energy.1 If you are interested in reducing your environmental impact and becoming more sustainable, then you can start by switching to solar energy.
The Solar Energy Trust of Oregon (SETO) was established in 2015 and is the leading governmental agency encouraging businesses, schools, and residents to use solar energy.2 The agency offers a wide range of financial and non-financial incentives to businesses, homeowners, and schools wanting to install solar energy systems.
Although solar energy still can’t quite compete with traditional energy sources in terms of cost, it is constantly becoming more affordable. The cost of solar energy systems has decreased by 60% since 2010 and is now comparable to that of traditional power.3 This makes it more accessible for average homeowners and even small businesses.
Additionally, because solar energy is one of the most cost-effective, environment-friendly, and renewable energy sources available, many utilities are offering special rates to customers who install solar electric systems.
According to the Solar Energy Industry Association, over 19 million American homes could potentially have solar power.4 In 2016, the residential solar market grew by 24%, and commercial sectors saw an increase of 33%. So what is holding back the solar industry?
Well, for one thing, there are still a lot of stereotypes and misunderstandings about solar energy. Despite its many advantages, some people still believe that it is not safe or reliable. But all that is changing, as the industry is working hard to educate the public about the benefits of solar energy and its many applications.
No More Blackouts
Imagine having darkness during the day, rain that shuts down production lines, and strange flickering lights that appear and disappear erratically. Sounds like an awful day, right? But thanks to solar energy, you will never have to experience this again. With solar power, the sun will be your constant source of light and energy.
When the sun shines, so does your solar power system. Because it is not connected to the electricity grid, there is no threat of losing electricity during the day. If anything, you may benefit from being able to use more electricity at certain times than at others. This could result in lower electricity costs and fewer worries about blackouts.
Improved Air Quality
One of the biggest concerns about traditional power generation is its impact on the environment. With coal-fired power plants, for instance, a significant proportion of the fuel is wasted during the production process as a result of incomplete combustion. This leads to harmful emissions and even more wasted energy. But because solar power is a completely clean and renewable energy source, the air is much cleaner near and far from the source.
According to some studies, electricity generated from solar power plants can reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by 45% and sulfur dioxide emissions by 27%. This has a significant impact on air quality, especially in heavy populated areas. In comparison, electricity generated by a conventional plant can result in an increase of up to 70% in sulfur dioxide emissions and a 47% increase in nitric oxide emissions.
Additionally, the construction and operation of a solar power plant requires a lot of non-fuel resources such as steel and copper in the form of hardware and cable, respectively. So not only is it an environment-friendly option, it is also resource-friendly.
One of the biggest barriers to the widespread adoption of solar power is the uncertain nature of government regulations and support. This is why the Solar Energy Trust of Oregon was established to provide an independent source of certainty for investors and businesspeople considering the purchase or build-out of a solar electric system.
In 2015, an amendment was made to the federal tax code which exempted residential solar installations up to 200kW in size from taxation. Moreover, states and local governments are also working to implement their own favorable regulations and initiatives as well. For example, in California, the government agency that regulates and monitors utilities, the California Public Utilities Commission (PUC), adopted a policy in 2016 to expedite the approval process for rooftop solar installations. As a result of this and other incentives, over 240,000 residential solar systems were installed in California alone between 2016 and 2018.
Secure Energy Future
If you are concerned about the security of energy supply, then you can rest assured that solar power is one of the most secure and stable energy sources available. Because it is not connected to the electricity grid and instead operates independently, there is no chance that it will run out of fuel or be damaged by natural disasters or acts of terrorism. This makes solar power a very safe and reliable option.
More Power To You
If you decide to invest in a solar power system, then you can be rest assured that the energy produced by it will be beneficial and usable. This is because when the sun shines, it generates more energy than is needed and excess energy is routed to a storage device, such as a battery or an electric car. So even if you are connected to the electricity grid, you will still benefit from having your own solar power system.
In conclusion, if you want to get your feet wet and find out more about solar power, then the Solar Energy Trust of Oregon is a good place to start. The agency promotes solar energy and works with residents, schools, and businesses to increase their use of sustainable and environment-friendly energy sources. So if you are looking to lower your carbon footprint, install a solar power system, or just want to become more sustainable, then this is the place to be.