Cheap, Sustainable Solar Power Can Help Make a "Greener" World
Technology has shown that it's possible to harness the energy of the sun in a clean
and sustainable way. Costs to go solar have continued to decrease as technology improves
and solar power gains traction ... however, cheap, sustainable solar power
is still a few decades away from making it into our every day lifestyles.
The goal is to create energy systems that are pollution-free, abundant and capable of providing
enough power to meet demand. All other power sources (i.e. hydro, coal-fired and nuclear) meet some
of these criteria but have serious problems that are not factored into the price. Hydro causes
environmental degradation on the local watershed; coal-fired power plants give off carbon-dioxide;
and nuclear waste sits around waiting for a future solution. In contrast, solar power:
- ... does little to harm the environment. Solar cells are made from
semiconductor material that can last up to 30 years. As long as there's direct sunlight, electricity can
- ... can be used in remote locations where access to the grid is physically or financially impossible.
- ... might not become a nation's primary energy source due to the lack of energy storage, but it can help
lower our dependency on polluting sources of energy.
Sustainable solar power is available today, but it is certainly not the cheapest available energy source.
Subsidies are required to compete against other power sources whose true cost is hidden. When factoring
in the cost of pollution and environmental degradation of the other sources, the economics of solar power
look more promising (not to mention the many benefits!
- click here to get a free quote for solar in your area).
In order for solar power to make a larger impact, it needs to overcome some technical and economic hurdles:
- Solar cells need to become more efficient.
Doubling the efficiency of the energy conversion will significantly reduce the size of the panel.
- Small-scale solar power is good for households but economies-of-scale need to be created.
Large solar generating plants need to be constructed so they can share personnel, outdoor
facilities and transmission lines.
- Consumers will have to accept the true cost of power which is substantially more than the
currently subsidized prices.
- Consumers will need to be willing to design solar power systems into their new homes, or
accept the potentially costly retrofitting of solar power
into existing homes.
- Consumers need to conserve more energy. Solar power is only available during daylight hours
and so appliances, lights and our entire lifestyles need to use less energy.
Cheap, sustainable solar power would provide energy to future generations while reducing
the impact of pollution, toxic waste and environmental problems from other energy sources.