At the moment, the climate on planet earth isn’t what it was a millennium ago. Mankind’s activities have heavily impacted on the climate and the resources on earth. Fossil fuel use has substantially raised the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. This has had a profound effect on the polar ice caps and the weather patterns across the globe.
Global warming is a literary term synonymously used alongside terms such as carbon emissions and climate change. Environmental protection bodies worldwide are now more than ever advocating for a paradigm shift in the energy consumption trends globally. As pressure continues to pile for alternative energy sources, solar energy is seemingly becoming the new hope.
Previously, Hawaii got most of its power from burning diesel, an expensive and polluting method. Tesla Inc., an American auto and energy company, has recently been investing in solar energy panels and batteries in Hawaii. The solar electrification project dubbed “Solar City”, boasts 13 Megawatt solar panels and 52 megawatt hours’ worth of powerpack batteries. The said solar power plan is enough to supply more than 4,500 homes with clean electricity day and night.
Tesla alleges that the Hawaii solar power plan reduces the dependence on at least 1.6 million gallons of diesel previously used for power generation each year. Tesla and Solar City installed the solar package under a 20-year fixed price contract that would cost the utility 13.9 cents per kilowatt-hour. This rate is slightly less than the diesel-power rates. The Kauai island based facility demonstrates Tesla’s ability to deliver upon high demand commercial projects. Below are some potential benefits of solar energy;
- Impact on the environment. Solar power has been hailed as the best alternative to fossil fuels. It is a clean and renewable source of energy that reduces greenhouse gas emission. This is essence reduces the risk of damage to the environment and consequently the global climate. Solar power, unlike nuclear reactors and geothermal power plants doesn’t require any fuel and is hence cheaper. On the same, solar power generation doesn’t have a negative impact on the land compared to other power generating means.
- Maintenance. Unlike most power generation methods requiring routine maintenance, solar power cells are capable of running long periods of time without much fuss of maintenance or care. The initial costs of acquiring solar cells are quite high but that’s all there is to it in terms of expenditure. There aren’t any recurring costs associated with the running or maintenance of the same.
- Ease of installation. Solar panel and power packs don’t require nuclear physicists to install. The installation of solar panels is simple and doesn’t require loads of technical knowledge. Solar panels are a plug and play type of equipment. They also don’t need lots of space to install as simple spaces such as rooftops works just as fine.
- Long service life. Solar panels have no moving parts. This means that there is no mechanical wear reducing maintenance as mentioned. The service life therefore is longer than most electricity generating means minus maintenance. The average service life of solar panels is anywhere between 25 to 40 years.
- Independence. Solar power systems are designed to work independent of outside power connections. This means that local power companies have no say on your power needs. In simple terms, you are self-sufficient and doing away with periodic hefty power bills. In fact, one can sell back some of the excess power generated by the solar power equipment to the distribution companies. In one sense, solar power can be a source of income.
Tesla Inc. has recently been on a massive solar energy drive across the United States. More recently, Hawaii has been the latest benefactor of Tesla’s unrelenting push for green renewable energy. When talking about the potential benefits of solar energy, it is also important to pay attention to the economic implications of the current energy production methods.
Presently, the total estimated monetary value of the air pollution and greenhouse gas emission benefits from use of a high penetration solar scenario is over $400 dollars. This is a staggering amount considering all the working assumptions involved.
Studies conducted by the United States Department of Energy conclude that installation of 20 gigawatt solar power equipment effectively lowers greenhouse gas emission by up to 17 million metric tons. This is worth about roughly 700 million dollars annually. Solar effectively reduces conventional air pollutants from existing power production plants. Nitrogen, Sulfur and other particulates have been flagged as the greatest contributors to the whole air pollution menace.
Further studies suggest that the overall health and environmental benefits realized from alleviation of air pollution reduction via the use of solar energy technologies are quite substantial. The study estimates that the benefits range up to 890 million dollars all from avoidance of premature mortality rates amongst a myriad of other respiratory complications and other conditions.
Solar power reduces the total volume of water used by existing nuclear power plants. Nuclear power plants require enormous volumes of liquid water that is used for core cooling and driving the electricity producing turbines. It is worth noting that this water cannot be immediately made available for use or rather reuse in the context of human consumption owing to the insane levels of radiation and the health risks that accompany the same. Sunny and drought prone areas therefore benefit largely from the water savings realized from the use of solar power technology.
In conclusion, solar power is an economical alternative to fossil fuels and other non-environmental friendly energy sources. Solar energy technologies utilize free thermal and photo-electric energy from the sun. This is clean, renewable and safe. This also ensures that you save on your overall energy expenses as solar energy is a whole lot cheaper. Solar energy is certainly the way forward for the entire planet.