advantages of solar energy

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Advantages of Solar Energy

One of the key components of our transition to a cleaner economy to mitigate the effects of climate change is alternative, renewable energy. All over the world, researchers are looking for ways to maximise efficiency of renewable resources so that they can replace energy generated by fossil fuels.

Of all types of renewable energy, solar power is the most emblematic and the most promising. The advantages of solar energy are many. The sun generates an average of 164 Watts per square meter over a 24 hour day. The entire planet receives 84 Terrawatts of power while our global consumption is 12 Terrawatts. Therefore it can potentially provide us with more energy than we need, if only we could harness all this free solar light that is delivered to us.

The number one advantage of solar power is that its generation does not produce emissions. While it’s true that the production of solar panels involves the use of toxic metals such as mercury, lead and cadmium and produces carbon dioxide, a 2008 study by Vasilis M. Fthenakis (National Photovoltaics Environment Research Center) and published on ACS' Environmental Science & Technology showed that despite that, solar electricity reduces 90 per cent of air pollutants when compared to conventional fossil fuel technologies. The researcher based his findings on air pollution emissions data from 13 solar cell manufacturers in Europe and the United States between 2004 and 2006.

Another advantage of solar energy is the independence it can afford to the user. Solar power generators can provide a source of electricity in remote areas with no access to the grid. Besides, depending on the size of the array installed on a building, it may meet all of its energy needs. As the weather becomes more erratic, having an independent source of power such as solar may come in handy.