As solar power becomes an increasingly important component of the country’s “energy mix,” it’s worth taking a look at five major benefits of solar power.
1. Less Public Utilities
Solar power users gain a measure of independence from their utilities. Even if their solar panels don’t produce all of the power that they need on a daily basis, they’ll save on conventional power. If they produce more power, their utilities may pay them for it. For cash-strapped homeowners, this can turn into a significant source of revenue.
2. Tax Incentives
Generous subsidies may be available for businesses as well as homeowners. Generally speaking, these incentives allow solar power users to claim tax credits in proportion to the amount of generation capacity that they install on their property. This reduces solar power start-up costs and increases the profitability of the technology.
3. Minimal Environmental Impact
Although the production of solar panels does require some inputs of raw materials and energy, solar power’s environmental impact is minimal. The technology produces none of the carbon, methane or particulate emissions that fossil fuels emit, and it doesn’t demand large-scale mining or drilling operations. Since panel arrays can be placed on rooftops or in isolated desert areas, solar power’s physical footprint is manageable as well.
4. More Jobs
The solar power industry has resulted in the creation of tens of thousands of jobs in the last decade alone. Although proponents of conventional energy technologies argue that the solar industry destroys more fossil fuel-related jobs than it creates, this is a misleading claim. After all, solar panel production is just a small facet of an overall industry that demands contributions from installation technicians, salespeople, battery-storage designers and other key players.
5. Self Reliance
Since the dawn of the fossil fuel age, reliance on unstable or hostile countries to supply oil, gas and other energy resources has caused plenty of trouble. Since all of the solar power that we need can be generated within the country’s own borders, the technology has the potential to eliminate this less-than-ideal reliance. In the long run, such a development could increase the economic and physical security of every citizen.
In the future, solar power will have a lasting and overwhelmingly positive impact on our society.
Update, January 2019: Since we originally wrote this post back in 2014, solar panels have advanced significantly, and are constantly evolving over time. Most importantly, solar panels are very quickly becoming more efficient (getting more energy from the same amount of light) and more affordable. This is a very positive sign for the development of renewable energy sources as the development speed of the technology speeds up! Check out this overview to see how costs are trending downwards while efficiency is trending up!
Photo Credits: Solar Energy Benefits/shutterstock