Solar Energy, Alternative Energy Sources
Using alternative energy seems to be an extremely hot topic these days. It's getting plenty of attention in the popular mass media as well as from local, state, and national government agencies. Why is alternative energy such a hot topic these days? Well, the short answer is that we are polluting our planet and the environment is quickly changing across the globe. If we don't cut our carbon monoxide output by 80%, it is estimated that within 10-15 years, we will see a 50% decrease in the total number of species that populate the earth. This is a hard truth to get a hold of, but it is reality.
In this article, I am going to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of one of the more popular sources of alternative energy, solar power.
There are many advantages, but remember, there are two sides to every coin, and so, there are also a few disadvantages.
First, I will discuss some of the advantages:
Solar energy comes from the sun so there is an infinite source from which energy can be generated. The sun is active twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, and 52 weeks in a year. We have a lot of fossil fuels, but we won't run out of solar energy until the sun disappears completely, at which point, we are going to have much bigger problems to face. With oil, the more we use, the more scarce it becomes, and the more we pollute our environment. With solar energy, the adverse is true! Solar activity won't run out anytime soon and, as technology gets more advanced, the more energy we can harness.
It's free energy! As long as the sun keeps shining, solar energy will be free. While there is an upfront cost for solar equipment, there is no advancing cost, only general maintenance. If you own many solar panels, you may never have to pay an electric bill! Some people want to break free from the energy grid so they never have to pay for energy again. They could actually store some of the excess energy and sell it right back to the community and profit from it.
There aren't any greenhouse gasses. If you are concerned about all-around global warming, then solar energy is what you've been looking for! Unlike fossil fuels like oil and gas, solar energy produces no greenhouse gasses. Do you feel like abating your carbon footprint? Solar energy is an accomplished way to do it. Solar electricity generates no CO2 or emissions at all.
Now, the disadvantages:
Number one: Initial cost
Probably the number one disadvantage to utilize solar electricity is the startup cost. While the advancing costs of solar electricity are relatively small, solar panels are really high priced.
Number two: Space
For best efficiency, it is best for the solar panels to be facing the sun directly. As of now, most solar panels are mounted in a fixed position such as on the roofs of houses. Therefore, it is hard to get a decent placement. I think it would be wise for solar panels to be on an electrical platform that could change direction via remote control. Another possibility is that there could be an automated sensor that would follow the the sun throughout the day.
Number three: Solar panels work best in locations with a lot of sun
In certain areas around the world, solar energy might not be the best solution. In the northern hemisphere, some states are cloudy for half of the year and have extremely short summers. It's obvious that solar energy could be utilized better in Florida, than say, Minnesota.
Overall, I think that the advantages of solar energy far outweigh the disadvantages. It's time that we as humans come together to invent new ways of harnessing energy. This is our planet and we need to protect it for future generations. I hope you'll consider Solar electricity. Thanks for reading!