Our modern-day heavily relies on burning fossil fuel for electricity, from the light and air conditioner in your house to your phone or car that you use with you every day. In 2019, in America, 66 percent of the electricity was generated by burning two types of fossil fuels- natural gas and coal. Natural gas (38percent of the electricity generated) is estimated to be running out in 54 years, and coal (28 percent of the electricity generated) is going to run out in around 100 years. (MET group counties for when the type of fossil fuel will run out and Yacoubou for the percentage of how the energy is being generated) Furthermore, With the help of a tech-savvy 3-D model of atmospheric chemistry with a high spatial resolution that analyzed pollution globally and found clues leading to its impact on human health, a recent joint study by universities discovered that one in five deaths in 2018 — that is, 8.7 million — was caused by fossil fuel air pollution. (Hwan) It is fundamental for us to step into the age of clean energy.
It is going to be incredibly hard to instantly change all the countries in the world to be using clean energy. Developing counties will be struggling as manufacturing prices and transporting between counties or others will all be problems, but things need to be accomplished step by step. The first step, and easiest, is to reduce the use of energy produced by burning fossil fuels, which causes pollution at the same time, to using solar panels. (Hydroelectricity requires flowing water; wind turbines require large flat land not possible in cities); geothermal requires specific land and costs enormously. Since solar panels can be placed anywhere and are possible to be affordable by individuals, solar panels are the best)
So how much can solar panels help? Typically, a residential solar setup produces anywhere from 350-850 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per month. The average home uses approximately 909 kWh of energy per month (according to U.S. Energy Information Administrations), so owning solar can save you upwards of 90% on your monthly electric bills by replacing it with clean energy. A real-life example is China, the world’s largest installed solar energy fleet, measured at 205 GW in 2019, according to the IEA’s Renewables 2020 report. In 2019, 7.5 trillion kilowatts of electricity were used ( Statista Research Department) and 223.8 terawatt-hours were generated by solar energy(NS Energy Staff Writer). Which is 2.8 percent, despite other ways of clean energy generated, it is an incredible number even though it might not sound to be a lot. Therefore, solar panels can save you money and help the environment at the same time but why aren’t people using them? The cost is a big obstacle that stands in the way. A single setup of solar panels could cost around 20000 US dollars (Blue raven solar) while, even in rich counties like America, the average income is.
But how can we get the most affordable solar energy? Because of its cheap and efficient manufacturing ability, China is producing the most affordable solar energy and panels globally. A typical capable company is Sun Teach. In 2004, solar energy cost about $3.20 per watt, on average, to make silicon solar panels. By now, according to solar- industry analysts at Photon Consulting in Boston, a Chinese manufacturer can make them for as little as $1.28 per watt, while the lowest-cost Western manufacturer will produce comparable technology for about $2.00 per watt. (Bullis) Furthermore, it will get even cheaper in the future because things get cheaper when there is a higher amount of it.
one severe problem is that after the manufacture in China is cheap but, when the solar panels are transported around the world, the pollution is balanced. Despite the time needed, the railway is overall the cheapest and causes the least carbon footprint. (also seldom have accidents that delay) The railing is one of the cheapest ways to transport, a little more expensive than trucks. Railing goods are far cheaper than planes and a little cheaper than the sea. Most importantly, the railing is very eco-friendly. national rail only produces 41g of carbon dioxide per km while flight could cause 154, almost 3 times less carbon produced). ( Ritchie)
European Union Commission has declared 2021 the “Year of Rail,” and the EU Green Deal framework published in July 2021 calls for a substantial shift to rail, with the “Smart Mobility Strategy” stating targets of a 50% increase in freight in the EU transported by rail by 2030 and 100% increase by 2050. (Christoph ) With the less fuel required and pollution caused, rail can carry far more goods than trucks. Transporting solar panels can be forced on China, as the first step , since the largest fossil fuel consumer is China, almost doubling the amount of U.S.- 145.46 exajoules of china and 87.79 exajoules of U.S.( N. Sönnichsen). Using rail to transport will turn the transport of the solar panels clean and affordable too.
Some people argue that the money spent on getting a set of solar panels is not worth it, since it might take up to 10 years to yield a return. But we must keep in mind two things: First, and most importantly, all the energy that you use in that home over the years is all clean, which means no fossil fuels are burnt for it , which means no pollution at all is caused. “Which balance the cost if you are thinking this way.” quoted Mrs. Paola; Secondly, Mrs. Paola said that as long as the demand for this technology grows, prices will continue to drop.
Ultimately, solar panels are the best way to get clean energy for individuals. Problems such as price and pollution when made/transported exist , but there are solutions to them making solar panels more accessible than others like hydroelectric, geothermal, or wind. (With the advantage of being able to be used anywhere without a big demand for land) Steps need to be taken for our world to stay clean and safe. Using solar panels isn’t the first, nor would it be the last.
Bullis Kevin, https://explore.proquest.com/sirsissuesresearcher/document/2267900579?searchid=1653303085&accountid=4047
Jeanne Yacoubou MS, Green cost, December 2, 2020, https://greencoast.org/types-of-renewable-energy/
MET group counties, January 18, 2021, https://group.met.com/en/mind-the-fyouture/mindthefyouture/when-will-fossil-fuels-run-out#:~:text=It%20is%20predicted%20that%20we,coal%20up%20to%20114%20years.
Blue raven solar, January 10, 2022, https://blueravensolar.com/blog/how-much-do-solar-panels-save/
Statista Research Department,May 10, 2022,https://www.statista.com/statistics/278676/power-consumption-in-china/#:~:text=In%202019%2C%20approximately%207.5%20trillion,comparison%20to%20the%20previous%20year.
NS Energy Staff Writer, 13 Jul 2021, https://www.nsenergybusiness.com/features/solar-power-countries-installed-capacity/