What To Know About Solar Energy in the US
While some of our customers are drawn to solar because of the Solar financial savings they expect to receive, other customers want solar because it is more environmentally friendly than fossil fuels. However, there is a lot of misinformation about solar, which has led some people to question whether solar is as good as it seems.
Solar Is Environmentally Friendly
Solar energy is green energy. It does not produce air pollution, carbon emissions, use water, cause acid rain, or contribute to greenhouse gasses. In fact, in the first half of 2020, solar energy avoided more than 96 million metric tons of CO2 emissions. While it does take energy to produce solar panels, after their first three-to-four years of production those panels are net zero, meaning they have produced as much energy as it took to produce them. After that, they have zero carbon footprint.
Another great feature of solar panels is that they do not rely on rare earth metals. They use “minor” metals, which include silicon, gallium, selenium, indium, tellurium, and cadmium. While the process is not pollution free, it produces far less pollution than other sources of energy.
Solar Energy Is Sustainable
When we talk about sustainable energy, we are discussing whether an energy resource will be available in the future. For example, fossil fuels are not a sustainable energy source. Even though humans are getting more adept at extracting fossil fuels from the earth, and even though we have located some previously unknown energy resources, we know that fossil fuel sources are finite. If we keep burning fossil fuels at our current rate, we are expected to deplete them by 2060.
In contrast, solar energy is sustainable. The energy of the sun is inexhaustible and free. Moreover, the United States receives ample sunshine, especially in some regions, making it a good place to use solar energy. Technically, solar is not a forever technology. In about 5 billion years, the sun will run out of hydrogen, and no longer be a source of energy. However, if humans are still around at that point in time, we will have much bigger problems than a lack of electricity.
Solar Saves Money
The sun is free, but, of course, solar panels are not. It costs money to manufacture, transport, install, and maintain solar panels. However, solar saves consumers money two ways. First, there are subsidies that help reduce the cost of residential solar installation, which reduce the cost by about 1/4th of the total. Second, in the long-term, in places with abundant sunshine, solar is the least expensive source of electricity.
Solar Creates Jobs
The impact of solar energy on employment opportunities has been a hot-button political topic, but the fact of the matter is that solar creates job. Solar power has created almost 250,000 well-paying jobs in the United States. Solar photovoltaic installer is a growing profession that pays well and offers job stability. As the demand for solar continues to increase, the job creation is expected to continue.