What is solar energy, and why is everybody talking about it?

Solar energy is often discussed but not completely understood. Consumers and business owners face significant cost increases in traditional energy sources and are beginning to look more closely at solar energy options for their homes and businesses.   It is estimated that 60% of U.S. households heat with fossil fuels. The financial burden to families and businesses with these pending cost increases can be disastrous and solar energy may be the ideal solution.

What is solar energy?

Solar energy is simply the light and heat that come from the sun. Solar power is created by converting solar energy into thermal or electrical energy. Societies have been using solar energy for centuries. The first solar-powered electricity occurred in 1954! Gaining in popularity and consumer interest, solar energy as a resource is harnessed in a few different ways:

  • Photovoltaic cells, which convert sunlight into electricity.
  • Solar thermal technology, where heat from the sun is used to make hot water or steam.
  • Passive solar heating can be as simple as letting the sunshine through windows to heat the inside of a building.

The Department of Energy provides the public information on solar energy and says, “Solar energy is the fastest growing and most affordable source of new electricity in America. Over 3 million installations have been built across the country—with 1 million being built in the last two years. As the cost of solar energy systems dropped significantly, more Americans and businesses have taken advantage of clean energy.”


Solar energy is a free renewable energy source

Homeowners are looking for cost-effective and environmentally healthy energy alternatives to offset the increasing costs of electricity and home heating. Covid has had a significant impact on household income, and homeowners embrace renewable energy options.  

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, “The average wholesale prices for electricity at major trading hubs in the United States were higher in 2021 than in 2020 as increasing costs for power generation fuels, especially natural gas, pushed electricity prices higher in the second half of 2021. Constraints on electricity supply as a result of cold weather in the central United States also created price spikes in February 2021.”

Solar energy is a free renewable source unlike traditional sources of energy. Sunshine is always available immune from the volatile markets that set conventional energy prices and affect supply and demand. So renewable-generated electricity comes with ultra-low fixed costs keeping consistent for decades into the future.



Offset your household power consumption using solar energy

You may be considering the option of adding a solar energy system to your home’s roof or finding another way to harness the sun’s energy. Solar energy presents homeowners with the ability to harness the strength and energy of the sun to heat and power their homes. This is a viable and cost-effective alternative to traditional power sources and offsets fossil fuel energy consumption.

Some homeowners are apprehensive about engaging solar energy as a power resource. State incentives and tax breaks are available to homeowners who choose solar energy. Professional solar companies and licensed installers are certified to advise homeowners, inspect the home and property, and offer programs to meet their energy consumption needs.

Hundreds of thousands of solar panels have been installed in states across the country as an increasing number of Americans choose to power their homes with clean energy from the sun. The U.S. government recognizes the value of alternative energy, and many departments are focused on solar energy. This paves the way for consumers to learn more and make sound decisions on energy consumption alternatives.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) (SETO) supports early-stage research to improve solar technologies’ affordability, reliability, and domestic benefit to the grid. Information is available by visiting the Solar Energy Technologies Office.

Reducing the world’s carbon imprint one consumer at a time

A significant shift in mindset regarding purchasing home energy resources has changed household dependency on traditional heating and electric companies. A household’s carbon footprint, the total greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), will be significantly reduced using solar energy.

The solar panel’s carbon footprint is roughly 20 times less than the carbon output of coal-powered electricity sources. As a result, your carbon footprint will decrease as soon as you install solar power in your home. Solar panels need to be operational for three years to become carbon neutral, paying off their carbon debt. Then, after three years of use, your overall carbon footprint will reduce further, as the system will remain carbon neutral for the rest of its lifespan.

In general, solar panels last over 20 years, keeping a significant amount of carbon out of our atmosphere.

Consumers have embraced electric and hybrid automobiles, supported local farmers with farm-to-table organic foods, and installed energy-efficient appliances and lighting sources. The final step in a commitment to reducing GHG and fossil fuel usage is in solar energy.


Learn more about solar energy for your home

Protecting the environment for the next generation does not have to be daunting, confusing, or expensive. Solar generation was 3% of U.S. electricity in 2020 but projected to be 20% by 2050. Learn more from a licensed and trusted solar power installation company and feel confident that you can reduce your solar footprint while lowering your energy bill.

Resources: cooleffect.org, https://www.energy.gov/, Forbes, eia.gov


Similar Posts