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Environmental consequences of fossil fuels

Millie HennickOctober 16, 20189940

Environmental consequences of fossil fuels

After many years of advice from climate scientists, mankind is beginning to wake up from their climate misconceptions. The latest climate projections are much more terrifying than anything that came before and some scientists understand we are already past the "tipping point." Alarming effects of global warming are commanding the weather news. Heat-related fatalities are a frequent phenomenon. Europe and North America are in the midst of a long-term heat wave that is directly responsible for hundreds of deaths. Japan is setting heat records. Are there any techniques for generating power that doesn't cause so much damage? When fossil fuels run out in a few decades, we better be ready. But climate researchers tell us we need to stop burning fossil fuels now before they are exhausted because of the speed of the melting ice in the Arctic.

We have been dependent on fossil fuels for a long time

Modern society is greatly reliant upon electricity generated by oil and coal, which add to greenhouse gas accumulation in our environment. Our homes, vehicles, and technologies need gigantic amounts of energy, yet fossil fuel supplies are limited. Sunshine is the alternative and clean resource that can be relied on for as long as the earth is in existence. Solar energy is pervasive throughout many parts of the United States. In a single day, the amount of sunlight gleaming on the United States is more than 2,500 times the entire country's daily energy usage. From an energy security and sustainability perspective, it seems reasonable to utilize as much free solar energy as possible.

Clean energy is the wave of the future

Fortunately, there are various technologies used to create electricity from solar. Many homes and businesses install photovoltaic panels, which absorb sunlight and use semiconductors to produce electricity. Larger facilities use panels, too, but others use concentrated solar power, which uses lenses or mirrors focused on a small area, where the colossal heat is turned into electricity. Both technologies aid the environment because they decrease the need to burn fossil fuels. That means a correlating decline in air pollution and greenhouse gases. Because they don't have moving parts, they're quiet, also.

Solar panels are still costly but the price is falling

Photovoltaic panels are still expensive to make. However, many experts assume that hardware prices will fall by at least 50 percent in the next few years as more companies invest in this technology. Once a resident or business can afford the panels, they're placed rather easily and tied into the electrical system. One of the favorable things about solar power is that it produces its highest output as demand spikes. Energy usage spikes during summer months due to air conditioners -- but that same solar energy that heats the country can be captured and used to power those devices.

At this stage, though, solar power accounts for only around one percent of electricity production. It will take years of concentrated and continued effort by the government and by private investors to make the most of solar power's potential.

Now is the time to install a solar energy system! Since the price of solar panels remains low, there is no excuse for not investing in a solar energy system. This is an outstanding opportunity to do the right thing! Imagine generating your own power and eliminating your electric bill every month! You will also feel empowered because you are no longer contributing to climate change. You will be part of the solution!

For more information relating to going solar, don't forget to visit our solar blog section for more handy guides and articles.

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