i am a long-time avid technologist. i began my tech career in the Apple world but moved to Enterprise Solutions later.
Is Solar the answer?
The concept of renewable energy represents energy that comes from a source that doesn’t decrease. Oil, known as fossil fuel, has a finite amount available. Additionally, the burning of fossil fuels contributes significantly to the overall impact of what is now called Climate Change.
Climate Change is changing the world around us. 2019’s average global temperature was the second-highest ever recorded by humans — the only year with a higher average global temperature on record, 2018. The ten hottest years on record have come in the last 12 years. Not that the phrase global warming applies. Global warming is a misnomer. The impact of greenhouse gasses does cause temperatures in some places to rise. It also changes rain patterns and lowers the temperatures in other areas — both of those impacts how humans grow food. The reality of what we are facing is global. I am not saying that the suggestions in this article are a cure-all. Rather today, I wanted to focus more on the positive side of the equation. The ability of everyone to start helping reduce the future impact of Climate Change. It is not too late to pitch in.
Solar Power for the homeowner, it is an array in your yard or an array on your roof. The system can range from producing as low as 1 KW per hour, or as much as 25 KW or more. KW stands for Kilowatts per hour. The normally home averages between 8-30 KW consumed for an entire day. The problem, of course, with solar power is when the sun isn’t shining at night; Solar systems don’t produce power. You can get a battery system and change the batteries allow you to use the batteries at night, but that adds cost to the system overall. The other option is you stay connected to the power grid and pay the power company for the power you use at night.
The formula to figure out how many solar panels you need is simple. How much energy does your home use in 24 hours?
what can I do?
If you want to replace your entire power consumption, you have to have more power produced most of the day than you consume during the day. For this example, we are going to assume the peak usage at your house is 25 KW per day total consumption/ Not all days are peak days, but it is always best with Air Conditioning to plan for the peak. Given that over a week, you will need to produce 34 KW per day or 2.2KW per hour for 16 hours of the day. You will need a 30 KW Solar Roof array to offset the use. That means most days; you will be pushing electricity to the power grid outside your home.
The manufacturing process for solar panels does use harmful ch, do have harmful chemicals in them. It is important to note that there are harmful chemicals used in the physical panel. While you are removing a harmful chemical from the atmosphere, you do have harmful chemicals on your roof or in your yard. When your solar panels have to be replaced, normally 10-20 years after installation, the harmful chemicals have to be recycled.
That is a consideration, as you consider green. The other side of the equation is the concept of offset. You see, when you install solar plans, you begin the offset of Carbon Dioxide released into the air by powerplants. Carbon reduction can be anywhere from 1200 to 2000 pounds per year. So while you have 100-200 pounds of chemicals that are (this is the highest possible average), of which ½ of the chemicals can be recycled, it means you have between 50-100 pounds of chemicals that require disposal tat the end of a 20 year Solar Life. In that same 20 years, you have reduced your carbon production by between 200,000 and 400,000 pounds. The offset is significant, and frankly, the reality of Solar Power isn’t that there are harmful chemicals in the panels, it is that you are reducing Carbon Production by a huge amount.
The second issue many people face as they consider the cost of solar power is the Payback. Payback or Return on Investment focuses on the business equation cost – revenue = return. A Solar Array can cost between 10-40,000 US dollars. The average homeowner has between a 100 and a 400 dollar power bill per month.
The simple math is 20 times 100, or 20,000 dollars, which means that your Solar system at the low end would be profitable in around ten years. If you have to purchase a more expensive system, including batteries, then you are likely also getting a high month power bill. That system pays for itself in around ten years as well (400 x 20 =80,000).
Those are two of the initial arguments against Solar Power. There are other considerations, including the reality of leasing Solar Arrays. You can lease from several companies in the US and Europe today. What this means is the company puts an array on your roof, and you pay them per KW used. You pay them an average of 11 to 12 cents per KW used. The power company charges you between 18-20 per KW so you at zero cost to you reduce your power bill!
Many people believe Climate Change isn’t real. In future articles, I will talk about some of the arguments against Climate Change being ready. But today, I wanted to talk about the reality of Solar Power and the impact it can have on your and the environment around you!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 DocAndersen
DocAndersen (author) from US on May 26, 2021:
i worry that in the US solar continues to lag in the overall implementation.
Carol Taylor from Thailand on May 26, 2021:
An interesting article on solar power not that we need it a lot here as we obviously don't need heating, neither do we have water heaters the sun warms the water through the pipes however we do use garden lights and house lighting which means it may be good to run those off solar as we have the sun which solar panels need.
DocAndersen (author) from US on January 31, 2020:
Thank you very much for the kind words!
Anya Ali from Rabwah, Pakistan on January 30, 2020: