Can Solar Energy Really Help Reduce the Effect of Global Warming?

Going Solar to Save the Earth

Planet Earth is warming, scientists report a rise of 1.1° Fahrenheit in the average temperature. The Arctic and the Antarctic are in danger. These are some of the hot topics in climate change discussions. Recently, researchers point their finger at climate change for weather events happening closer to home. According to a report in the official scientific journal of the National Academy of Sciences, global warming due to greenhouse gasses was partially responsible for the 2014 California drought. Who is the culprit? Big industries are directly responsible for a lion’s share of the total GHG emissions. Nevertheless, a close analysis suggests that the average person does have his or her own share in global warming.

Electricity and GHG emissions

The daily activities of an ordinary individual, like the use of gasoline in vehicles, oil or gas used for heating homes and the electricity, which is an unavoidable necessity in modern life, all contribute to greenhouse gas emission (GHG). The quantity of the emission alone varies depending on the type of fuel, efficiency of the equipment, the size of the house, and so on.

How does electricity contribute to GHG emissions? Through the power plants that depend on fossil fuels to generate power. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, since 1990, there has been an increase in greenhouse gas emissions from electricity as a result of an increase in electricity demand. Fossil fuels have remained the dominant source for generations. Gasses like Carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide are released into the atmosphere when coal, oil, and natural gas are used to generate electricity. In such a scenario, letting the renewable sources take over the energy sector is a decision that can reverse the trend. Natural gas, promoted in place of fossil fuels as a much cleaner source of energy, is about to face competition from the emerging field of the solar market which offers a totally clean energy resource.

The sun as the ultimate source of energy

The biggest source of renewable energy is the sun itself. In fact, even other energy sources like the fossil fuels trace their energy back to the sun since they are nothing but solar energy trapped over millions of years. According to statistics, more than 8 million quads of solar energy is received annually by the earth whereas the entire planet’s annual use of energy is a mere 400 quads! By covering 0.0005 % of the globe with solar panels, the energy needs of the entire planet can be met, without having recourse to environmentally hazardous methods. It is also estimated that the solar users save about 75 million barrels of oil every year and even more importantly prevent the emission of 35 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Why the delay?

If that is the case, why is it that solar has not yet become widespread? Until a few decades back, solar energy production was so expensive that it was used only in satellites. However, the recent decades have seen remarkable developments in photovoltaic research that have led to the direct use of solar energy to power both residential and commercial sectors. As demand increases, the expenses connected with this enterprise reduce substantially. Hence, by going solar the average human being not only reaps financial gains and acquire energy independence but ensures the safety of the planet as well.

Going Solar to Save the Earth

Planet Earth is warming, scientists report a rise of 1.1° Fahrenheit in the average temperature. The Arctic and the Antarctic are in danger. These are some of the hot topics in climate change discussions. Recently, researchers point their finger at climate change for weather events happening closer to home. According to a report in the official scientific journal of the National Academy of Sciences, global warming due to greenhouse gasses was partially responsible for the 2014 California drought. Who is the culprit? Big industries are directly responsible for a lion’s share of the total GHG emissions. Nevertheless, a close analysis suggests that the average person does have his or her own share in global warming.

Electricity and GHG emissions

The daily activities of an ordinary individual, like the use of gasoline in vehicles, oil or gas used for heating homes and the electricity, which is an unavoidable necessity in modern life, all contribute to greenhouse gas emission (GHG). The quantity of the emission alone varies depending on the type of fuel, efficiency of the equipment, the size of the house, and so on.

How does electricity contribute to GHG emissions? Through the power plants that depend on fossil fuels to generate power. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, since 1990, there has been an increase in greenhouse gas emissions from electricity as a result of an increase in electricity demand. Fossil fuels have remained the dominant source for generations. Gasses like Carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide are released into the atmosphere when coal, oil, and natural gas are used to generate electricity. In such a scenario, letting the renewable sources take over the energy sector is a decision that can reverse the trend. Natural gas, promoted in place of fossil fuels as a much cleaner source of energy, is about to face competition from the emerging field of the solar market which offers a totally clean energy resource.

The sun as the ultimate source of energy

The biggest source of renewable energy is the sun itself. In fact, even other energy sources like the fossil fuels trace their energy back to the sun since they are nothing but solar energy trapped over millions of years. According to statistics, more than 8 million quads of solar energy is received annually by the earth whereas the entire planet’s annual use of energy is a mere 400 quads! By covering 0.0005 % of the globe with solar panels, the energy needs of the entire planet can be met, without having recourse to environmentally hazardous methods. It is also estimated that the solar users save about 75 million barrels of oil every year and even more importantly prevent the emission of 35 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Why the delay?

If that is the case, why is it that solar has not yet become widespread? Until a few decades back, solar energy production was so expensive that it was used only in satellites. However, the recent decades have seen remarkable developments in photovoltaic research that have led to the direct use of solar energy to power both residential and commercial sectors. As demand increases, the expenses connected with this enterprise reduce substantially. Hence, by going solar the average human being not only reaps financial gains and acquire energy independence but ensures the safety of the planet as well.

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