If an alien civilisation were to study humanity, they’d be surprised and amused, likely even disappointed at our use of millions-of-years-old compressed dinosaurs to fuel our energy needs. They’d look up to our brilliant Sun and wonder why humans haven’t capitalised on this abundant and constantly available source of free, clean energy.
The truth, though, is that our species has recognised, in the past few decades, that using fossil fuels to produce electricity has a terrible cost to the environment, and to all living things. Being the dominant species on the planet, and enjoying the gifts of logic and empathy, we need to recognise the urgency of switching over to clean sources of energy. The renewed interest in renewable energy sources is promising, and especially the tendency to bank on solar energy as a source of clean, abundant power.
Solar power has distinct and long-term advantages. In the past decades the cost of Photovoltaic (PV) was prohibitively expensive; of late due to the uptake in solar energy generation, costs have gone down drastically, and the cost of generating each kWh has become much cheaper; cheaper even than producing coal. There are incidences where coal plants are using energy generated by solar to power the plants. The irony!
It boggles the mind that the energy from the Sun hitting just the Earth in a single hour could meet the power needs of the entire World’s economy for a whole year. There are companies like Symbio Energy that provide complete solutions that include solar but are not limited to it. Onsite integrated energy systems for personal and professional dwellings as provided by Symbio are a step to taking yourself off the coal-powered grid, and even selling your surplus clean energy to earn from such systems.
The solar power and renewables juggernaut is well underway, gathering incredible momentum, and despite the attacks on renewables by American President Donald Trump’s administration, it’s not going to be stopped or even delayed. But at the same time we have to improve our renewables technologies and accelerate the switch over to renewables from dirty fossil fuels, if we want to not rob our future generations of a clean world.