The production and use of energy nowadays concern ethical issues and questions more than ever.
The more population increases, the more power demands grow, as a direct result, there is an unhealthy dependence on fossil fuels.
The consumption of oil, natural gas, coal (otherwise called fossil fuels) emits in the atmosphere greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, etc.) that contribute to global warming and air pollution.
It’s reported that last year (2018), the global energy demand and carbon emissions have grown by 2,9 % and 2%.
Aside from the fact that fossil fuels contribute to global climate change, this source of energy is limited, and in the not too distant future, it’s going to run out.
Regarding this, it’s estimated that known deposits of oil, natural gas, and coal will run out in 50 – 150 years.
In order to save the planet and to secure a healthy life for our children, we need to switch to sources of energy capable of mitigating global warming and pollution issues and in tandem to be renewable.
But what is renewable energy, and where does it come from?
Renewable energy is the energy produced by sources that have no finite end, and that never runs out.
Usually, they come from natural sources.
The most prominent sources of green energy are solar, wind, hydro, and geothermal, but these are not the only ones.
Renewable energy use around the world is on the rise, and solar energy is the most common of them.
What is Solar Energy?
Solar energy comes from the sun (which is the primary external form of energy) and is produced by the conversion of the sunlight in electricity or heat.
Solar technologies are categorized as passive solar or active solar, depending on the technology they use to capture and to convert the sunlight.
There are two ways to collect solar energy: one is by using the light and the other by using the heat of the sun.
The most used solar technologies are photovoltaic systems (PV), solar thermal electricity, and solar heating and cooling.
Solar photovoltaic (PV) has two advantages: the module manufacturing can be applied in large plants but also in minimal quantities, depending on the needs.
This feature allows a lot of applications in homes, businesses, and even transportation.
10 Ethical Benefits of Solar Panels
1. Solar Energy is Sustainable
Unfortunately, our need for power is enormous and is growing year by year.
The more technology moves forward and advances, the more we need the energy in our life.
We need energy for our homes, everyday electronics, transportation, businesses, factories, etc.
Fossil fuels, which are the most used form of energy, are non-sustainable energies.
We need to move forward the use of more sustainable forms of energy.
But what is sustainable energy?
Sustainable energy is that energy that satisfies our needs for power in the present and at the same time don’t t compromise the lack of future generations to fulfill theirs.
Unlike fossil fuels, the energy produced from the sun is sustainable, renewable, and unlimited.
It’s estimated by NASA that the lifetime of the sun is 6,5 billion years, so as long as the sun will shine, we don’t have to worry.
At the same time, solar energy is abundant.
In this regard, we can mention that solar energy that earth gets every hour is sufficient to power the whole world for one year.
The solar energy is indeed limitless; the only limit is our technology to process it!!!
We currently get 13 % of our energy from renewable sources without counting transportation.
2. Low Environmental Impact
Solar energy is a clean source of power.
It’s called green energy, it doesn’t include emissions of harmful gases, and in fact, it’s considered pollution-free.
Pollution is one of the biggest killers in the world and has a significant impact on the life of millions of people, especially in the kids’ life.
Pollution is characteristic of non-renewable sources of energy like fossil fuels; that’s why we have to move towards cleaner energies that don’t harm the environment.
What gives solar power an edge comparing to fossil fuels is the fact that it’s the cleanest and the safest resource of energy in the world.
Even the installation of solar panels has a low environmental impact because usually it’s installed on existing premises like homes, businesses, or in places no longer in use like landfills, deserts, etc.
Going solar today means you will lower your carbon footprint and helping maintain a cleaner environment.
The frequent use of solar energy through solar panels has zero impact on the environment.
3. Geographically Available
The level of radiation that falls from the sun upon the earth it’s not the same and depends on the geographical position, but even in the least sunny areas, the sunlight is enough to produce solar energy.
In conclusion, sunny or less sunny areas, solar power is viable everywhere.
As a result, there aren’t “fortunate” or “unfortunate” countries; the sunlight is practically everywhere around the globe, ready to be exploited every day.
The leading solar producer actually in China, and it expected that in 2020, they’re going to triple their productivity.
China has adopted the solar approach because of the staggering level of air pollution they have in big cities, especially in Beijing and Shanghai.
The largest solar power plant in the world is in the Mojave Desert, California.
2,2 million $ California farm power system, powers 140,000 California homes.
4. Solar Energy Saves You Money in the Long Run
Solar energy is not only a smart choice for the environment, but it’s also beneficial for your wallet.
Yes, with solar energy, you can save the money you spend every month with the utility bill!!!
After the initial cost of buying and installing, solar panels are a free source of energy, and you can use them for decades.
It’s estimated that the lifespan of solar panels is 25 – 30 years.
Although initially, solar panels are a significant expense, their payback period (return of investment) is 3 – 5 years.
The amount of energy that is produced after the payback period is the profit that you take for your investment.
Due to advancements in science, technology and processes of solar panels are becoming more efficient and as a result, even more, cheaper every day, and projections are that prices will keep dropping.
It’s predicted that soon, the cost of solar energy will be the same as other energy sources.
5. Financial Support From the Government
Subsidies from government or states play a significant role in supporting the growth of solar energy, making their costs more affordable and as a result, further incentivize the expansion of solar panels.
For example, the Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) is one of the most important federal policy mechanisms in the USA, enabling 30% tax reduction credit for solar systems, applied both on individuals and businesses.
“The impact of the tax policy on our industry has been incredibly consequential,” says Abigail Ross, the CEO of the Solar Energy Industry Association.
She continued reporting a 10,000 % rise in solar capacity and $140 billion in investment as a direct result of the subsidy’s effect.
Since 2006 when it was enacted, the Solar Investment Tax Credit became the most successful policy for green energy in the USA.
In December 2015, the US senate extended the 30% Renewable Tax Credit for another eight years.
Starting in 2020, the tax will decrease by 26% and 22 % in 2021.
6. Going Solar Promotes Energy Dependence
Energy dependence issues can be discussed at an individual and a national level.
Harnessing solar energy means not being dependent on fossil fuels that exist in low quantities, are continuously running out, and above all, build and sustain dependence from the suppliers.
Being energy independent is necessary for many nations worldwide because relying on unfriendly countries for energy involves insecurity, uncertainty, price rises, etc.
Not rarely, the energy dependence has caused conflicts like wars, economic, and political destabilization for countries that don’t have natural resources of their own.
Avoidance of energy dependence implies:
- No fuel price rise risk;
- Elimination of constraints;
- Meliorate security of supply;
- Contribute to price stability for fossil fuels;
- Stronger energy diversity.
Relying more on domestic production of energy is the goal of many countries, and in this regard, solar panels certainly help.
The question arises: Is it really possible for energy independence?
Maybe 100 % of energy independence isn’t a very realistic expectation, but energy security is considered an attainable and achievable target in the future.
By observing the individual aspect, it can be noted that installing solar panels at home has brought independence of entire families from the grid.
Even in periods of no sun like nights or rainy days, the switch on conventional power from the grid, it’s not expensive because, in reality, it’s compensated by the overproduction periods when the energy is generated back on the grid
7. Solar Energy Can Be Used Anywhere
Solar energy and solar panels have found applications everywhere.
Actually, there are many devices that benefit from solar power energy.
As we have already mentioned, due to the modular nature of solar technologies, it’s possible to use solar even in the smallest objects.
Uses of solar panels:
- Water heating; solar showers ;
- Battery charging;
- Transportation: railroads, trains, subways, buses, cars, and even planes;
- Devices: cell phones, tablets, radio, speakers, phone chargers, flashlights, solar lights, thermostats, air conditioners, wearables, etc.;
- Everyday electronics;
- Rooftop solar;
There is extensive use of solar energy in everyday objects and devices that can be exposed in the sunlight, and this trend is going to grow for a long time.
8. Making Money
Not only we can save money by installing solar panels to reduce the electricity bill, and we can also make money out of it.
There are countries that allow homeowners to sell any surplus energy they exported back to the grid of the power company.
This is known as the “feed-in” scheme and can become a source of income for homeowners.
9.Solar Panels Can Be Installed Everywhere
Solar panels don’t require unique spaces to be installed.
They can be installed everywhere in existing rooftops, fields, premises as long as there is adequate space.
The introduction of solar electricity in remote areas that have no access to power had a high impact on the economic and social development of these places, by creating employment and reducing immigration.
10. Solar Technology Creates Jobs
Good for the environment, good for jobs!!!
As the world is moving toward massive implementation of solar energy, the employment rate for the jobs in the solar industry, like solar manufacturers and solar installers, is increased, resulting in real help for the economy.
According to the statistics reported by the National Solar Job Census and published by The Solar Foundation, the solar industry holds the first place for job creation in the USA with thousands of jobs.
11. Solar Panels Will Increase the Value of Your Property
According to a study conducted by National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), solar homes are sold 20 % faster and 17% more than the non-solar homes.
As can be noted by statistics, a solar home is more preferred by buyers because solar panels are considered as an upgrade for the house, and for that, they’re willing to pay more.
Recent studies have reported that for every 1 kilowatt of solar panels installed, the value of the home is increased by $ 4,020 – $ 5,911.
Access to energy is critical as it directly impacts the economy, politics, national security, and society in its entirety.
The fact remains that there is a growing awareness about environmental issues in the past ten or so years.
We need to create the foundations for a better future.
Arguably a reorientation of institutions and policies it’s needed in order to create a dramatic change in the way we think about nature and humanity, thus giving rise to a new culture.
The wiser choices are made today, the stronger fundamentals we will have tomorrow.
The choice of solar energy and other renewable energies, although it still represents some economic and technological challenges, it’s the only way to go.
As Petra Kelly from the environmental movement once said: it’s the time for “the greening of the self.”