During the last two decades, the renewable energy market has taken off, and today, solar energy is one of the biggest and most promising markets. The technology is constantly evolving to allow for more efficient and cost-effective ways to harness this resource, and thus, many changes have occurred which have altered the original vision for solar power. What used to be a large-scale project on an isolated roof has now become a possibility thanks to technological advancements, and this article will examine how this solar energy affects the atmosphere and how we can use this to our benefit.
The Rise Of Solar
It is important to put things in perspective when looking at the recent technological advancements which have led to the rise of solar energy. To begin with, let’s examine the situation before the onset of the current crisis: conventional power stations were becoming more and more polluting, and the effects were becoming more and more obvious. It was then when the concept of ‘peak power’ was first introduced, whereby maximum power is exerted during the times of day when electricity usage is at its highest. This form of power is considered particularly dirty, and so a replacement was needed. As a result, the development of solar power began, and this new source of energy not only provides a clean source of power, but it also has the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Thanks to the work of pioneers such as Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg, as well as continued research and development, the cost of solar energy has decreased massively. The price of solar electricity has dropped by more than 90% in the last 10 years, and the cost of solar panels has followed suit. In 2020 alone, the cost of a solar panel was $3.80, and this is just one aspect which has reduced the price tag of a photovoltaic system. This has led to a surge in interest in the technology, and many locations which were once considered ‘non-solar-friendly’ have turned into ‘solar-power magnets’.
As mentioned above, one of the most significant changes which has occurred as a result of the development of solar power is energy usage. The sun does not shine only in the day, and so homes and businesses which use solar energy continue to use electricity at night as well. Thanks to the technology, these devices continue to operate even when the sun has gone down, which has led to a decrease in energy usage. In 2019, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) reported that the amount of energy which was consumed between sunset and midnight in the U.S was 26% less than it was in 2010, and this did not include the energy which is used during the day. Even more impressive is the fact that this difference was made up of both residential and commercial consumers.
So, not only has the sun provided us with an energy source, it has also helped to decrease energy consumption. The benefits of using solar power at night are numerous, and this energy can be used in a variety of ways. It can be stored for later use, or it can be fed into the grid and used by others. The way you use it is entirely up to you.
Less Air Pollution
Another significant benefit which can be attributed to the use of solar power is the decrease in air pollution which has occurred as a result of the development of this technology. This is especially significant for the solar industry, as there is a large number of air pollutants (primarily sulfuric acid) which are emitted during the manufacturing process of solar panels. Thanks to advances in pollution control technology, these emissions have been decreased by more than 90% in the last 10 years alone, and this has helped to improve the air quality in many locations. In the U.S., the improvement in air quality is particularly noticeable, as the country currently has one of the worst pollution problems in the world, largely because of its dependence on fossil fuels. The introduction of large scale solar power has helped to decrease pollution in numerous locations, and this includes sulfuric acid, nitrogen oxide, and particulate matter.
Reduced Greenhouse Gas Emissions
The third and final significant change which has occurred as a result of the development of solar power is the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Thanks to the technology, there has been a decrease in the amount of greenhouse gases which are emitted as a result of energy usage, and this has happened even in the most remote locations. The most significant of these gases are carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide, with carbon dioxide being the biggest contributor to climate change. When looking at the overall impact of the solar industry in 2019, NREL estimated that it prevented the emission of 790 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, 5.8 million metric tons of methane, and 16.7 million metric tons of nitrous oxide. This is an incredible accomplishment, and one which will hopefully continue into the future.
So, as you can see, there are many advantages to the solar industry, both now and in the future. This is why the technology continues to grow in popularity every year, and why many locations have turned into ‘solar-power magnets’. If you are interested in exploring the option of solar power, the first step is to contact an expert who can provide you with an impartial assessment of your individual circumstances.