Pros and Cons of Solar Energy

Climate change is an undeniable and devastating consequence of excessive carbon emissions, and has been a hot topic in the environmental science and political realms for decades now. The rapid decline of our environment has accelerated the need to find new, sustainable forms of energy, and one of those solutions is solar energy.

Solar energy is power that is generated from the conversion of sunlight to thermal or electric energy. It is the most abundant and cleanest source of renewable energy, but it also is the most expensive. And while it’s not an immediate and definite solution to all of our energy needs, it does have some undeniably good qualities that make it superior to traditional, nonrenewable sources of energy.

Pros:

Sustainable– The most obvious upside to using solar energy is that it is the only truly renewable source of energy, and has the potential to play a large part in the future of energy production. While fossil fuels are limited, dwindling, and harmful, solar energy offers a safer, more environmentally-friendly, and more efficient alternative for harnessing energy to sustain life on earth. Integrating solar energy into our world allows us the opportunity to slow down global warming, and takes away our dependence on harvesting the limited and precious supply of naturally occurring elements of the earth.

Versatile– Solar energy is becoming more and more common, and as it gains popularity and becomes more mainstream, its applications only become more versatile and functional. Fitting seamlessly into our lives are specially-designed solar panels that can be attached to our roofs, taking a national dream to an individual reality, and empowering the public to make personal choices that better the environment. Unlike fossil fuels, sunlight cannot be monopolized. A sense of independence and stewardship is encouraged, and solar energy also provides a sense of energy security as a result.

Money saver– Solar energy is also a great money saver for the households that take advantage of it. Using solar energy as opposed to traditional forms of energy can save you tens of thousands of dollars in heating, cooling, and gas bills.

Job creation– The solar energy industry also creates more jobs for people than other forms of energy. Called a “job-creating powerhouse,” more jobs are available in the solar energy industry than in the coal or natural gas industries.

Cons:

Expensive– Although solar energy can save money in the long run, it is also the most expensive form of sustainable energy. The financial benefits of solar energy can take years to realize, and require a significant amount of initial capital.

Unpredictable– One of the most obvious drawbacks of solar energy are that by nature, it does not provide a consistent and stable production of power. Because it relies on sunlight, solar energy output can decrease during periods of cloudy skies or at night. The unpredictability of solar energy makes it difficult to for it to be used as a dependable source of energy.

Disruptive to the environment– One of the only other drawbacks of using solar energy is that it requires a large amount of space, invading and disrupting the land’s local wildlife.

The advantages of solar energy clearly outweigh the drawbacks, and they give us hope for a brighter, cleaner, more efficient future. Finding new renewable sources of sustainable energy is an evolving process, and as we look to the future of energy production, it becomes more and more obvious that the use of fossil fuels simply cannot sustain life on earth indefinitely. Solar energy is a great alternative that must be considered to have any hope of reversing the effects of global warming.

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