What we really want to know is how solar power benefits me? Ok I promise we’ll get to that but you should at least read how solar energy works to benefit us all (including good ole Mother Earth) by reducing yours, mine and our carbon footprints. Carbon footprint is defined as "the total amount of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions caused by an organization, event, product or person".
This is more commonly expressed as an amount of carbon dioxide, since this is a gas known to the average person, and people can understand and relate to it better. Thus the term carbon footprint actually refers to GHG, carbon dioxide and other similar harmful gases. Unfortunately much of out daily activity releases carbon dioxide and increases our carbon footprint.
In a normal year consuming energy, the average American citizen has a carbon footprint of roughly 36,000 pounds, or 18 tons. Contrarily, solar power has a carbon footprint of exactly zero so this is a prime solar power benefit and one of the main advantages of solar power. Let’s take a look at some advantages and disadvantages of solar power , and examine the solar power pros and cons to see if this is a viable option to replace our current energy providers.
I know what you are thinking. "Great, solar power will help our environment, health and wealth, but it is super difficult and expensive to set up!" Actually, that is one of the mythical solar energy disadvantages supported by energy companies and those who profit from traditional energy sources. They would have you believe that solar energy costs outweigh the solar power benefits of savings that you’d get. And when you add the fact that solar power is unlimited (one of the main advantages of solar energy ), there really is no reason to ignore harnessing solar energy to power our energy-hungry lifestyles.
On a clear, sunny day, 1 kWh (kilowatt hour) is broadcast onto a 1 square meter surface at sea level per hour. On a typical sun-filled day, approximately 6 kWh of total solar energy can be captured from this relatively small area. That works out to a total of 180 kWh every month, and just 5 square meters is enough to replace the average American's electricity consumption each month. It easy to see that one of the main benefits of solar power is that it’s inexhaustible.
However, there are many advantages and disadvantages of solar power to take into account before you start building your personal solar power station. A little known fact about solar power concerns its source. Did you realize that you are legally entitled to sunlight? Yep, it is against the law for anyone to build a structure that blocks your "solar exposure" thus encroaching upon your solar power benefits.
This means that our government is fully aware of the benefits of solar energy and its amazing powers. This also applies to trees and natural impediments on your neighbor's property. You are within your legal right to have trees trimmed and hills reduced if they block the sun’s life-giving rays.
If the legalities of solar power are not enough to consider, how about looking at our foreign energy dependency? Let’s be real here! The phrase “energy independence” has been bandied about for the past 30 years. Isn’t it time we did something about it? We all have a personal and quite possibly physical investment in this wonderful resource.
Reducing and even eliminating our overseas oil providers far outweighs any and all solar energy costs of production. Every single kWh that we harness is done so right here in the good old USA, and means we cut off the greedy hands of OPEC overnight, putting more money back in our pockets. To me this is truly one of the main benefits of solar power.
But what about electricity you say? Electricity might be the single most important aspect of our everyday lives, and we continue to use more every year. It powers so many things in our daily routine, and every year sees more technology that hungrily devours this energy source. But did you know that most electricity is harnessed from burning coal? We would immediately enjoy the solar power benefits of eliminating this carbon dioxide producing, massive carbon footprint.
How about electric vehicles? You see them touted everywhere as environmentally friendly. Sure, they help us cut the demand for overseas oil, but they still need the above-mentioned coal to produce the electricity that powers them. That means just moving from one environmentally poor energy source to another.
Once again, you only have to look skyward for the answer. There are certainly many solar energy pros and cons, but the pros far outweigh the cons, and this is just another instance where solar energy disadvantages simply can’t be found. Some municipalities even offer special energy rebates for those people that charge their electric cars with solar power. Hopefully, that trend will continue and spread in the coming years.
Solar power is also strongest in the afternoon, when the energy draw is the heaviest. This means that solar power would drastically reduce, if not totally eliminate, blackouts. A battery backup could be set up to guarantee no energy reduction. So we can see that there are many ways how solar energy can be used in our daily lives.
But no discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of solar power would be complete without looking at the costs of solar energy. Before gaining any solar power benefits you need to know that most of the cost of harnessing solar power is upfront. And there is no guarantee from one year to the next how much our sun will help us in our efforts.
There are also building codes, seasonal trends and local subsidies to take into account. But harnessing solar power does not have to be an end-all do-all. We can always fall back on other energy providers as a backup plan.
Unscrupulous contractors, upfront costs, and annual upkeep are all solar energy costs you need to be aware of. You are going to be in charge of repairing your own solar panels, and they sometimes freeze in winter. So start small, and become knowledgeable about all aspects of solar power.
Just begin with a small photovoltaic cell on your roof, monitor energy costs, and expand slowly, and before you know it you will reduce your carbon footprint and put major money back in your pockets. The advantages of solar energy far outweigh solar energy disadvantages, so if you want to enjoy the solar power benefits that will help both you and the plane get started today.
One of the most important aspects of maximizing your solar power benefits has to do with your roof and windows. So be sure to get excellent home improvement advice from NJ’s Best Roofing Contractor . You'll be happy that you did.