Solar energy is abundant in many places around the world. It is renewable and sustainable and most importantly, clean. It is a natural form of power whereby solar radiation is converted into power, which can be used to provide light and heat to residential homes and commercial enterprises.
There are a number of reasons why solar power has become a popular alternative to traditional power. Although solar power has been available for decades, the technology has only recently been accepted and rolled out en masse as it has gained mainstream acceptance.
New Technologies Developed
On a per-Kilo Watt basis, producing power from conventional sources like coal and natural gasses is still slightly cheaper but this is changing fast as new technologies are developed. There is also a strong motivation to move away from fossil fuels as not only are they damaging to the environment but also resources are finite.
This is one of the main advantages of solar power, as it becomes an ever-increasing component of a countries ‘energy mix’. Sunlight is a free resource that will continue to be produced for an indefinite amount of time. Solar radiation simply needs to be collected via solar panels and converted into electricity.
Minimal Environmental Impact
The production of solar panels does require the use of a few raw materials although the environmental impact associated with solar power is minimal. This is even more apparent when one compares the pollution caused by fossil fuels to solar power. The by-products of power production from coal and natural gas include high levels of carbon, methane and other toxic emissions that have an adverse effect on the environment.
Since panel arrays can be installed on rooftops or in isolated areas, another advantage is that solar power does not rely on intensive large-scale mining or drilling operations.
Financial Incentives By Government
Solar energy has come under the spotlight and has drawn considerable support from governments. It has created a so-called ‘innovation engine’ that has stimulated job creation and generated thousands of jobs in the last decade alone. And this is not limited only to the production of solar panels. It encompasses the need for engineers to improve the collection and storage technology, well-trained technicians to install and maintain the panels and a number of other key players.
There are a number of governments that offer lucrative tenders to entrepreneurs as well as tax rebates to consumers to encourage them to move to more sustainable energy sources. In turn this takes the pressure off the national grid.
With healthy financial incentives from government, intensive labour-productions regimes that are geared towards job generation, solar power offers a number of economic as well as environmental benefits to established and emerging economies.
The future of solar power
Solar power is a valuable technology that can effectively be used to improve the lives of many, while minimising the impact on the environment. Although the world is not currently able to completely divorce itself from conventional power production, it is undeniable that solar and other ‘green’ energy is the future.