Just a couple of decades ago, the idea of solar power being mainstream was pure science fiction — something you’d see in the works of Arthur C. Clarke more than in real-world business plans. However, this method for generating electricity is now the most promising hope for our future.
Before, it was both inaccessible and expensive — but these days, the future of solar is (all pun intended) quite bright. Its practical application is more viable than ever, and not just for commercial purposes. More and more homeowners are finding solar to be an extremely enticing alternative or at least a complementary energy source to their main one.
All in all, solar energy has become widely available — it’s a cheap, renewable energy alternative. Considering the fact that fossil fuel prices are constantly rising with no signs of an opposite trend, solar is set to become an even more attractive option, mainly because solar power is becoming cheaper while traditional energy sources are becoming more expensive. In a couple of decades, it’s almost certain that solar will largely displace fossil fuels as the primary energy standard.
But what does all of this mean for homeowners today? We’ll explore the trends mentioned above in more detail right here!
Rising Fossil Fuel Prices
The world has run on fossil fuels for centuries. The electricity in our homes mainly comes from the burning of gas and oil — and our cars (mostly) run on oil. However, electric vehicles powered by batteries and the widespread adoption of residential solar systems make fossil fuels seem more outdated every year — not to mention more expensive.
There are two primary issues when it comes to using fossil fuels as an energy source.
A finite resource
Firstly, these resources are depletable and finite — and soon enough, there won’t be enough of them to satisfy the growing demand, even with the constant price hikes for an ever-growing number of consumers.
As an example — right now, around 85% of the entire energy supply of the United States comes from some variety of fossil fuels. When we take the fact that this is a finite resource into account, this situation makes the disadvantage towards Americans apparent. If the prices of fossil fuels rise dramatically, there will be no alternative energy strategy in place.
And this is pretty much inevitable, seeing as oil and gas sources and reserves will undoubtedly be depleted by the mid-21st century. The more unconventional oil and gas sources that are far more difficult and costly to extract are becoming an increasingly large part of the overall global supply of fossil fuels.
Even if we disregard the fact that fossil fuels are a finite resource, another colossal problem remains — their extraction, processing, and use are incredibly harmful to the environment.
At the beginning of the crude oil manufacturing process, countless wildlife habitats and ecosystems are utterly destroyed – vast stretches of land are left polluted and lifeless. The source sites for fossil fuels leave the land that’s crucial for wildlife destroyed and fragmented — and any bodies of water in the immediate vicinity of these sites are polluted as well. The same goes for their spills and runoff, making the waters inhospitable for wildlife and equally dangerous for human consumption.
And it’s not just bad for the water and the land. The burning of fossil fuels creates dangerous carbon emissions, significantly reducing air quality through toxic pollution. And these emissions also lead to climate change by trapping heat within our atmosphere.
All of this means that switching to alternative energy sources like solar power en masse is the only way to combat skyrocketing fuel prices, climate change, and endemic pollution. That’s why going solar in your home brings a lot of benefits, not just to your wallet — but to your environment as well.
Solar Is Increasingly Accessible
Not so long ago, solar power was generally used only by large, forward-thinking businesses and the wealthiest homeowners who lived in sunny locales. However, the current advancements in solar tech have made residential applications more accessible to a large number of homeowners.
This increased affordability of solar energy systems has led to a massive number of middle-class homeowners with tighter budgets making the switch to solar — and the increasing efficiency of the solar panels themselves has allowed people who don’t live in the sunniest areas to experience the benefits of solar as well.
Tech advancements aren’t the only thing that’s been guiding this positive trend in solar. While the economics of fossil fuels and solar energy would have made an eventual switch to solar inevitable, it wouldn’t have happened this quickly on a residential level without policy choices made by green-minded governments.
With tax breaks and other monetary incentives, solar has become affordable even in countries that mainly rely on traditional energy sources — like the USA. Due to all of these factors, solar power installations are multiplying at an astounding pace. Some projections estimate that the output of solar energy will increase almost 50% by 2040 — primarily due to the fact that solar power has become cheaper than previous estimates predicted.
Considering this, it’s easy to see why the energy industry stands at a critical turning point. Even on a residential level, the already predicted transition to solar energy is happening much quicker than was initially expected. That’s why homeowners who are currently considering solar would do well to get ahead of the curve and start their transition today — soon enough, electric cars and residential solar panels will likely be the standard for everyone.
Solar Is Free
Homeowners that don’t know a lot about solar energy already may pose one logical and straightforward question — what’s the catch? In other words, what’s their most significant tangible benefit here?
Well, besides the more general benefit of being better for the environment than fossil fuels, it’s important to remember that an initial investment in solar panels will eliminate or reduce your monthly electricity and gas bills indefinitely.
Once you decide to switch to solar, the only expenses you have are the initial cost of the installation and the equipment. And while these still aren’t the cheapest home improvement you can make, they practically pay for themselves in the long run.
The energy your personal solar panels produce will replace the electricity you’re paying your electric company for every single month. And if you make the switch to an electric car with a home charger, you’ll also be able to use solar to replace your gas expenses as well.
Plus, none of the electricity produced by your solar panels will ever go to waste. In case of any surplus, all of the extra power generated by your residential solar system goes straight into the broader energy grid. Not only will it help power other nearby homes — but your electric company will actually pay you for it!
And the upfront costs of installing solar panels are lower than ever, so eliminating your monthly power and gas bills has never been easier — providing you with more disposable income than ever before, which you can save or spend as you see fit.
As you can see, solar power represents the future of the whole energy sector — and that future is approaching faster than ever. The harmful nature of fossil fuels and their devastating effects on various global habitats make them a dangerous solution — while also being temporary, seeing as the fossil fuel reserves will eventually be depleted. Without a switch to solar, electricity and gas prices will rise as fossil fuel becomes more scarce — but that doesn’t have to affect your home.
A switch to solar energy is more accessible and affordable than it’s even been — allowing solar to transform from a niche market into a mainstream energy source of the future. As a homeowner, you don’t want to participate in the upcoming uphill battle of using fossil fuels as an energy source — so it’s wise to start thinking about solar power on time.