As we search for viable renewable energy sources in recognition of the finite, polluting and and politically-fraught aspects of fossil fuels, the question remains. Can we consider solar power as a primary energy source?
We’ve reviewed the disadvantages of solar energy (along with its many benefits), in order to consider the pros and cons for this alternative power resource. Of course, among a number of issues to be considered include the fact that solar is expensive and not particularly efficient, overall…. yet!
The solar power debate will continue to rage on. Yet, the abundance of free solar power cannot be overlooked. New solar technology developments are announced on a regular basis. Efficiencies are increased and prices continue to fall. Certainly we should be able to find a way to harness this endless energy source, especially considering facts like these:
In full sun, you can safely assume about 100 watts of solar energy per square foot. If you assume 12 hours of sun per day, this equates to 438,000 watt-hours per square foot per year. Based on 27,878,400 square feet per square mile, sunlight bestows a whopping 12.2 trillion watt-hours per square mile per year.
Its high time for us to elevate solar power as a truly significant power source, which can finally get us away from talking about the myth of “clean coal,” or ignoring the fact that oil exploration and drilling is harming the environment in ways that cannot be sustained.
But why solar power, instead of the alternatives?
In part, the answer is found in the very diversity of the renewable energy resource. From solar hot water to solar electricity, you can shower, cook food, warm your home and more. Particularly in developing nations, reliance on solar power just makes sense!
Solar power as a primary energy resource is a proposal that is still under consideration. Yet, we can warmly witness its blooming across desert southwest regions in the U.S., and even in less sunny climes worldwide.
Do we really need to sit in judgment over whether solar power is the way to go for renewable energy? Perhaps we should just wait and watch things unfold? Weighing solar against wind, biomass, nuclear and more is one task. Considering the resource against oil and natural gas is practically a no-brainer.