With energy costs rising at a rapid rate and climate change threatening our planet, the adoption of solar power is vital. Using the sun to meet our energy needs is an attractive option because of its many advantages. Solar energy is cheap, clean, and renewable. While solar panel prices were once expensive, prices are now falling, and the federal government and many state and local governments offer financial incentives to use solar energy.
Once solar panels are in place, solar power is virtually free. Homeowners and businesses may have to make a significant upfront investment to install a solar energy system, but there are often state and federal tax incentives and rebates available to help offset initial costs. Once the system is installed, electricity is produced at no cost! Solar panels require little maintenance and can last for 30 years or more. Depending on your power usage, your initial investment may be recovered relatively quickly. Utility rates increase frequently, which means that your savings from using solar power become greater with each passing year. Coal and natural gas prices are volatile and have been going up rapidly in recent years as worldwide demand for commodities explodes. Furthermore, these fuels are limited in supply, and it’s becoming more and more difficult to extract adequate supplies of these fuels from mines and wells. Prices for coal and gas will probably continue to increase at a fast rate while the cost of solar energy will remain zero and will never go up.
Solar power does not require any input except the sun’s rays. In a trend that is spreading, some states require utilities to obtain a portion of their electricity from renewable resources, such as solar energy. This means that people who install a solar energy system at their home or business can sell any excess electricity that they generate to the utility company through a policy know as “net metering”. By selling electricity to the utility, you can offset initial costs, make a profit, or build credits so that you can draw electricity from the grid at night or on cloudy days at no cost.
Solar power is simply good for the environment. It produces no greenhouse gases, so it doesn’t cause climate change. It also reduces the need for coal and natural gas. Mining coal or drilling for natural gas can contaminate the environment. Burning them to produce electricity produces greenhouse gases, which are driving potentially calamitous climate change. Burning coal and gas also pollutes the air which harms the environment and drives up health care costs. Nuclear power produces toxic waste that must be secured and stored indefinitely. Solar power eliminates all of these problems.
Solar is the Fuel of the Future
Cheap, clean, and renewable solar energy is simply the best way for homes and businesses to obtain electricity. In order to forestall climate change and free ourselves from dependance on ever-dwindling supplies of fossil fuels and waste producing nuclear power plants, we must adopt solar power as the energy of today and tomorrow.