Imagine a world where all your devices draw their energy from the sun. Smelly gas stations are a thing of the past, and tales of oil spills in the ocean sound like stories from a distant past. How do we get there?
Solar power generators and other technologies that utilize the sun’s energy are essential to creating this “clean energy” future. With the latest technologies, it’s quickly becoming a possibility.
Here, we’ll learn about “clean energy” and examine how solar power generators fit into that equation — so that you can make informed decisions that benefit your wallet and the planet for generations to come.
Does Solar Power Produce Clean Energy?
It’s first essential to understand the process behind producing this type of energy to determine if solar power is truly a clean, renewable resource.
Traditional power sources, like coal, oil, and gas, require mining fossil fuels from deep within the earth. Coal formation began 300 million years ago, during the Carboniferous period. Since the Industrial Revolution, the world’s coal supply has sufficiently depleted. What took 300 million years to form only took a couple of centuries to obliterate.
These fossil fuel sources are nonrenewable and considered “dirty.” That’s because acquiring these materials requires the destruction of ecosystems and natural habitats, and burning them as fuel pumps dangerous chemicals into the air that harm people and contribute to global warming.
Solar power, on the other hand, can produce “clean” energy because it is merely energy created by the sun. This output comes from nuclear fusion in the sun. It allows plants to grow and sustains life on earth. Through PV panels and technology, humans can harness that renewable, clean energy to power our way of life.
Why Is Solar Energy Called Clean Energy?
The measure of clean energy is if the resource doesn’t pollute the atmosphere when used. Solar energy is a clean resource because using it as a power source doesn’t emit any harmful byproducts.
That said, it’s critical to consider environmental impacts when choosing this renewable resource. Just because it is clean and doesn’t pump greenhouse gases into the atmosphere doesn’t mean it cannot negatively affect local ecosystems and — in turn — the climate if not approached correctly.
For example, solar farms use substantial amounts of land. If solar panel installation requires completely clearing the land during construction, there may be harmful and irreversible consequences to native plant and animal life. This disruption of ecosystems, especially when repeated on a large scale, can have a damaging impact on the environment.
But there are more innovative ways to approach this renewable energy. People can install panels on top of residential and commercial buildings. They can install panels over roads or cleverly position them to provide shade for walkers, bikers, or grazing animals. Smaller solar appliances, like generators, can be used by individuals and families to power life on the go in a way that has almost no lasting environmental footprint.
When approached in an environmentally-conscious way, solar power equipment can provide more benefits to society than just clean energy.
Is Solar Energy Cleaner Than Nuclear?
Like solar, nuclear power is another zero-emission resource. Nuclear power typically has a smaller land footprint and produces a very minimal amount of waste. But is it a cleaner resource than solar power?
If we think of “clean energy” as a resource that produces no emissions, solar and nuclear are neck and neck. But there are other considerations when weighing the pros and cons of these two options.
First, it is incredibly costly and time-consuming to build nuclear power plants. Across the globe, construction has begun and stalled at many plants due to the massive costs and dangers associated with nuclear power.
Additionally, used fuel from nuclear power requires careful handling, transportation, and storage indefinitely due to the dangerous, radioactive nature of the waste.
If our planet continues utilizing nuclear power in the long run, it will become more and more challenging to manage the growing amount of nuclear waste. Over time, it could pose risks to environmental, human, and planetary health.
Is Solar Energy the Best Renewable Resource?
A report by The World Nuclear Industry Status states that between 2009 and 2019, costs for solar energy production fell by a staggering 89%, while new nuclear power went up by 26%. And in 2019 alone, solar power grew a whopping 24%, far surpassing the growth of wind and nuclear. If you’re judging whether solar energy is the best renewable power source in terms of production costs and industry growth, the trends speak for themselves.
But while the cost of solar power plummets further each year and the widespread accessibility of solar equipment continues to grow, it is still essential to look at the sun’s energy as a vital ingredient of the renewably-powered future—not the complete recipe unto itself.
As long as the sun shines, our planet will never run out of renewable power. But that doesn’t mean it is the only renewable resource we should harness.
To build the most sustainable, reliable energy system, communities need to diversify their power through various renewable sources, most notably solar, wind, hydro, and even nuclear. Different places also have varying climates and days of sunshine, wind, access to water, etc. Investing in various clean resources allows each region to harness what’s readily available during different seasons.
Solar is truly the powerhouse we need for a sustainable future when used alongside other renewable resources.
Solar is an essential component of our clean energy future. If you are interested in participating in the transition to renewable, clean power, a solar energy generator is a great place to start! EcoFlow has user-friendly, affordable solar generators to meet your unique needs and budget. Get “clean” and check out the DELTA and River 2 solar generators today!