Solar Panels and The Future of Electricity
Humanity has and always will need energy to perform work, and in ancient times, that energy came from simple animal and human labor. The Industrial Revolution changed that with the advent of steam power, which made factories and steam-powered trains and ships a reality. Electricity was soon harnessed thanks to the innovations of Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison, and by the 20th century, fossil fuel power plants were generating massive amounts of electricity all around the globe. This is still true today, but these fossil fuel power plants have come under some heavy criticism due to how much they pollute the air. But the power has to come from somewhere, so if fossil fuel plants are shut down, something else should take their place. Fortunately, clean energy sources such as solar energy systems, solar panels, and residential solar energy arrays are up to the job. What are the benefits of switching to solar panels as a source of electricity? Can the fill the shoes that fossil fuel power plants left them?
The Advantages of Solar Power
There are a number of reasons to pursue clean energy sources such as solar energy, and one of them is the sheer amount of power available. The solar energy sector is really only limited by the number of solar panels built to collect sunlight, since the sun itself exists on a truly astronomical scale. The sun will shine for another five billion years, and every day, more solar energy flows across the Earth than is used in all of industrial civilization. Theoretically, solar power could supply 100% of humanity’s needs today, and well into the future. And while a coal seam or natural gas pocket can get mined out, the sun cannot. This energy source is effectively infinite.
Another benefit to solar power is that it does not pollute at all. A solar panel array, regardless of how much electricity it generates, will never generate any byproducts, whether gas, liquid, or even radiation. This means that when large solar arrays take the place of fossil fuel power plants, worldwide carbon emissions are cut down, and that protects the natural earth.
What about jobs and the economy? Solar panel technology is strong there, too, as today’s clean energy industry employs many Americans. After all, the need to engineer, build, install, and repair solar panels creates plenty of jobs, such as crews installing residential solar energy arrays on people’s roofs.
Residential Solar Energy and More
Where can these solar panels be installed? Practically anywhere, and these panels can be built into arrays as large or small as needed. A good example of this is residential solar energy arrays, and many American homeowners are opting to have such panels installed right on their roofs with the aid of local solar panel companies. These residential solar energy arrays, once activated, allow the home to be disconnected from the public electric grid, and the house generates its own power. This allows the panels to pay for themselves over time, and the panels also charge up backup batteries as they go. These batteries are helpful during cloudy days or at night.
Larger buildings may do much the same, and a commercial building such as a skyscraper or office building may have dozens of panels on its roof to supply part of or all of its energy needs. The technology for these panels dates back to the 1970s, but only recently have they become efficient and price-friendly enough to be used like this, and plenty of homeowners and business owners are taking full advantage of that.
Meanwhile, solar panels can be built on a truly vast scale, with thousands of them assembled into vast arrays out in the wilderness where there’s sufficient room for them all. These industrial-scale arrays can collect enough solar energy to power entire city blocks or neighborhoods at a time, and they can replace local fossil fuel power plants as they come online. Often, these arrays are built in arid, cloudless areas with strong sunlight for maximum efficiency, and the States of Texas and California are both making good use of them with their ideal climates. And over on the east coast, North Carolina is also rapidly expanding in the solar panel business.