By: Osman Gofran
Imagine waking up to find out that there is no more gasoline to put into your car to run it, no heating oil to heat your home and no electricity in your house to power your appliances and gadgets. How will you get to work, go shopping or travel? How will you stay warm during the winter when the temperature drops to freezing cold? How will you power the everyday things you need such as things like your refrigerator, oven, phone, and computer? Though these things seem unrealistic in our point of view it is the reality in many Third World countries and quite possibly might be something that could occur in many developed countries like the United States in the future. The question is, how can we fix and prevent these things from happening realistically?
The answer rests in the power given off by the sun and the technology found in solar panels
What’s wrong with what we’re doing now?
When you ask people about the action they could personally take to help fight climate change and the enSmall scale wildfires occur naturally in ponderosa pine forests and play a crucial role in maintaining the health of these forest ecosystems. Fires help prevent the pine forests from becoming too dense, which can shade out plants in the understory and young trees reaching towards the canopy (Allen et al., 2002). With seasonal fires, these forests are Fossil fuels, the dominant source of generating power around the world, are formed from the remnants of plants and animals that lived millions of years ago, buried beneath the Earth’s surface. Over time they transformed into the flammable elements that we see today as natural gas and fuel. Currently, the world has become over-dependent on fossil fuels to power the needs of the world—from running cars and heating homes to powering electrical goods, just to name a few. At the current rate of energy demands around the world, fossil fuels cannot replenish fast enough to meet the growing needs of the earth’s 7.8 billion people.
The over-consumption of fossil fuels has been associated with the emission of greenhouse gases and pollutants into the atmosphere, the leading cause of global warming and climate change. This is where solar panels come into place. It is a solution to the fossil fuel energy crisis that has begun to cause problems for energy production throughout the world. It is more eco-friendly and efficient and has more benefits than drawbacks compared to fossil fuels, which do more harm than good.
How effective are solar panels?
Solar panels have many things to offer when it comes to the energy crisis facing the world in today’s modern age. Fossil fuels are finite, while solar panels, which uses the renewable resource of solar energy, are infinite. Renewable resources are not restricted by factors such as depletion or the amount of energy they can produce. Solar power especially has been the most popular type of renewable energy because of its effectiveness in power production. “It has been estimated that the solar energy available in a 100-square-mile area of Nevada could supply the United States with all its electricity needs” (ProCon). Just a tiny portion of the United States has the potential to power the entire country, but expanding solar panels throughout the country and the world would generate unimaginable results. Just imagine…
The power of solar and its scalability is also still yet to be fully taken advantage of and the ability of it to be used in various levels only increases its popularity and demand. One of the most popular ways solar power is used is when it is installed on homes to provide energy for a household. In 2016 small-scale photovoltaic (PV) systems contributed to 37% of the total annual energy production from all US solar PV generators and small-scale photovoltaic systems nearly doubled from 2014 to 2016 (EIA). Another one of the most increasingly popular methods of using solar power that is making a rise especially nowadays is the usage of solar panels on cars and on everyday household items. Automobile companies are currently working on ways to capitalize on solar energy by using interim technology, such as solar roof panels for charging batteries and internal systems. An example is the recently newly updated Hyundai Sonata Hybrid which is said to use up to 60% of the captured solar power for the car’s battery if the solar roof was used for six hours a day. In addition, the panels provide power to run the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid for an additional 800 miles a year (BBC).
Automobile companies are currently working on making the solar panels more efficient and are looking ways to increase its usefulness in providing energy to the car. It’s estimated that by 2027 the solar vehicle market could reach $689 billion (Solar Powered Cars).
What can you do to implement solar panels?
There are many things like solar heating, indoor and outdoor lighting, and solar charging which use solar power and can be taken advantage of. Solar heating uses thermal devices to increase the temperature of a component for things like warm water and swimming pools and can also help cool the water at night, during summers. Indoor and outdoor solar lighting allows for battery chargers to be charged during the day when the sun is out and use the stored energy during the night. Finally, solar charging is an effective way to charge batteries around the home since many technologies are advancing so much with various gadgets. It could be used to charge a phone, dryer, fan, cooker, or a furnace in the house (Solar Energy). There are multitudes of other uses for solar panels and the possibilities only continue to expand day after day.
As the world looks towards new ways to advance itself and effectively use the natural world for energy, solar energy comes up on top as the best way in resolving the growing energy crisis. With infinite amounts of energy always available in the form of sunlight, there are immense possibilities to make use of the endless supply of energy. In addition, the scalability of solar energy in transportation, battery charging, heating, lighting, or electricity makes it more appealing and useful in various levels of use. The faster people move towards using solar panels the quicker people can prevent hurting themselves, the world around us, and the future generations to come.
“Can Alternative Energy Effectively Replace Fossil Fuels? – Alternative Energy – ProCon.Org.” Alternative Energy, https://alternativeenergy.procon.org/questions/can-alternative-energy-effectively-replace-fossil-fuels/. Accessed 23 Apr. 2021.
“Hyundai Releases Car with Solar Panel Roof.” BBC News, 6 Aug. 2019. www.bbc.com, https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-49249884
All You Need to Know About Solar-Powered Cars. 24 Jan. 2021, https://interestingengineering.com/all-you-need-to-know-about-solar-powered-cars.
“Solar Energy Uses in Your Daily Life.” Solar Technologies, 27 May 2019, https://solartechnologies.com/solar-energy-uses-in-your-daily-life/.
More than Half of Small-Scale Photovoltaic Generation Comes from Residential Rooftops – Today in Energy – U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=31452. Accessed 7 May 2021.