Solar power as the Sustainable, Practical, Reliable, and Affordable Alternative to Sources of Energy.
The world’s current industrial civilization is based on a large extent on utilizing fossil fuels. According to Bode (2005), as a result of climate change, increasing human population, and fast decrease of natural resources, one of the world’s most efficient source of fuel, oil, is feared will be exhausted in a few year. Concerns about exhaustion of oil have made many scientists across the world to research on various potential substitutes of oil to avoid the world facing a global industrial and economic collapse. This has made energy experts specialized in sustainable energy to increasingly focus their attention on solar power as a potential alternative source of fossil fuels.
Why is solar power a sustainable source of energy
Solar power uses the sun’s energy to generate electricity, and it does not contribute to the unsustainable exploitation of natural resource to acquire raw material. This makes solar a green source of energy because it does not involve the destruction of natural resources and ecosystem as observed in the exploitation of fossil fuels.
For example, in the river Niger Delta, the unsustainable extraction of oil can be observed. This unsustainable extraction of oil has led to the mass extinction of various fish species that is observed in this region as a result of the activity. According to Nelson (2008), this impact led to the abandonment of villages where the villagers relied on fishing for their economic and sustainable livelihood. Another good example can be cited from the British Petroleum (BP) oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. During this incident, over one million cubic meter of crude oil was spilled. An impact analysis of solar energy shows that it does not release greenhouse gases into the environment because the energy production process does not involve smoke, gases or hazardous chemical waste.
Installation and maintenance costs of solar power panels
Solar energy is different from other conventional sources of energy because it is not characterized by monthly or other charges except for its initial installation and maintenance costs. Its cost of operation is further negligible. This source of energy does not need expensive raw materials like, and unlike other conventional sources of energy, the operational labor of solar energy power production is redundant.
According to Professor Richard Hans of University of South Calgary (2012), fossil fuels’ prices continue to increase at the time when the production cost per watt of solar energy has decreased by 60% in a period of five years. In addition to the fact that the power plants for solar energy production are independent from the national energy grid, solar energy is practical and cost-effective for people living in rural or remote areas. Solar energy is practical because it is not expensive to install compared to putting up electricity power lines in remote or rural areas. It is cost-effective because unlike other conventional sources of energy, it does not depend on factors such as continuous maintenance or petroleum transportation.
Demirbas (2008) writes that people possessing divergent views about solar energy argue that the installation cost of setting up a solar energy system is high compared to that of installing other conventional energy sources. According to the Demirbas, these people insist that installing solar panels requires a lot of space, which can affect its application in a limited space like in the urban areas. Professor Demirbas (2008) states that the cost of installation is relatively high because the material used to make solar panels have exorbitant prices. The professor further states that as this source of energy become more competitive because of fears of extinction facing other conventional sources of energy, the price of solar panels is expected to reduce. Governments with energy policies seeking to reduce carbon emissions are also expected to provide subsidize in the cost of installing solar energy systems to reduce environmental pollution.
Solar power has the capacity to become the world’s significant energy source in the near future. This source of energy can be considered as a clean or green because it does not involve emission of hazardous gases or chemicals during its energy production process on solar plants. It is also practical, affordable and self-reliant specifically to people living in the rural or remote areas where construction of a national energy grid is impossible in addition to not requiring additional monthly or other charges. People who challenge solar energy as a viable source of energy cite the high cost of solar panels and its requirement of plenty of space. However, measures such as government subsidies and research to develop small size solar panels producing the same energy output are expected to reset these challenges.
In summary, it is evident that sources of fossil fuels are becoming depleted, and will be exhausted in the near future. This will make people embrace solar power as the sustainable, practical, reliable, and affordable alternative to sources of fossil fuels.
Bode, H. (2005). Sustainable development and innovation in the energy sector. New York: Amherst International.
Demirbas, A. (2008). Solar energy: A realistic fuel alternative for tomorrow. Chicago: Springer.
Hans, R. (2012). Alternative energy. Chicago. HillCrest Publishers Ltd.
Nelson, V. (2008). Introduction to renewable energy. Chicago: Springer.