Our energy needs are at an all-time high. With the burgeoning population, the demand for energy is only going to grow exponentially in the upcoming decades. The current energy sources have been leading to climate change which threatens our entire planet. The burning of fossil fuels including coal, natural gases and crude oil continue to add greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane among others, into the atmosphere of the earth. The heat-trapping property of these gases has led to a dramatic rise in earth’s global temperature. This has exposed us to frequent extreme weather events such as drought, storms, floods and heatwaves; moreover, the rising sea level has been threatening coastal communities and infrastructure across the world. Switching to cleaner sources such as wind and solar energy from the conventional energy sources — sooner or later — has become imperative for us.
Among the many cleanest forms of energy, solar energy adoption has been at the forefront. In the developed nations, homeowners and utilities have been embracing it at a much faster rate for the last few years. Driven by plummeting cost of solar energy along with incentives and rebates provided by governments of some countries, solar energy has a seen a surge in its growth. Installing solar panels at homes and businesses could not only help in tackling climate change but it could also give health benefits to the residents.
Harnessing solar energy for generating electricity and gas could dramatically reduce our reliance on coal — which is still the number one fossil fuel — that is being used to generate electricity and power all around the world. This renewable source is among the cleanest and greenest energy sources as the emissions and carbon footprints are much lower than that of fossil fuels. One of the biggest advantages of embracing solar energy is a significant reduction in air pollution. Emission of sulphur dioxide, nitrous oxides and suspended particulate matter from the automobiles which run on petrol and diesel, and from the power plants which burn coal, has been a growing menace resulting in severe respiratory and cardiac problems. Solar energy adoption to fuel cars and other vehicles can bring a transformational change in the quality of our environment. In some countries, because of the technological advancement in this sector, it has become even the cheapest sources of energy too. Moreover, the solar panels used to harness the energy have been known to have a much longer life.
For solar energy to become mainstream throughout the world, there is still time. Some people have shown their reluctance to switch to solar energy as installing solar panels can mess with the aesthetics of their homes! In terms of research and development in this sector, there is a lot to be explored yet which can further reduce its cost and address some environmental concerns such as recycling of old and dead solar panels which result in unwanted sludge and contaminates water. With the adequate promotion, funding and increased awareness of the benefits of solar energy in tackling climate change among the masses can accelerate its adoption.