Humanity has always needed energy for production and work, and today in the 21st century, the energy demand is higher than ever, and still growing. For much of human history, energy came from human and animal labor, and that was sufficient in pre-industrial times, such as horse-drawn farm plows and blacksmiths and artisans. By the Industrial Revolution, everything grew in scale, from factories and new trains to the steam power that drove it all. In the late 1800s, electricity was innovated as well, with electricity allowing for many new inventions such as the radio and television later on. Throughout the 20th century and now in the 21st, much of humanity’s power comes from fossil fuel-powered plants and nuclear plants or natural gas, but these power sources have come under criticism for the pollution that they create. But modern civilization cannot afford to simply abandon its energy sources, so cleaner energy sources are taking their place, such as solar energy from solar panels. Solar companies around the world are hard at work with solar panel installation to make this clean energy possible.
The Benefits of Solar Energy
All energy has to come from somewhere, and fossil fuels are mined out of the earth, such as coal seams and natural gas pockets on the ocean floor. However, fossil fuel sources can be mined dry, while solar energy is indefinite. The sun exists on an astronomical scale, and it produces many times more energy than all of industrialized humanity uses across the globe. Just the sunlight that strikes the Earth could power all of industrial civilization many times over, and what is more, the sun is set to shine for another five billion years. For all intents and purposes, the sun is an infinite energy source, limited only by the number of solar panels built to collect that solar energy. Thus, solar energy has the potential to power all of industrialized humanity in the future, as the sheer volume of solar energy can easily accommodate any future development and energy demands.
Build Those Solar Panels
Collecting solar energy means building specialized panels that excite the electrons inside them once exposed to solar energy. This will generate electricity, and more importantly, this produces no byproducts whatsoever, no matter how much solar energy is collected. This technology, though pioneered back in the 1970s, only recently became efficient and price-friendly enough to become economically viable, but it may be just in time. Now, solar panels are more energy-efficient than ever, and many people around the world are taking advantage of this.
Where should these solar panels be installed? Part of the appeal of solar energy is that these panels can be set up nearly anywhere, and on any scale needed. On a smaller scale, solar energy can be collected when a few solar panels are put on the roof of a house. Some American homeowners are taking this route, and they can contact local solar companies to send crews who will install all the hardware. This means inspecting the house, then putting up the support brackets on the roof, and then fitting in the solar panels themselves. Wiring will be threaded throughout the house to supply power, and then official inspection crews will first look over, then approve all the hardware for use. The solar panels are activated, and the house is disconnected from the public electric grid. This allows the solar panels to pay for themselves over time, and the homeowner may even send excess electricity to the local power plant for a modest profit.
Commercial buildings can do this too, and on the largest scale, solar panel arrays may house hundreds or even thousands of these panels, all working in concert to collect solar power on an industrial scale. Most often, these arrays are built in the wilderness where they don’t get in anyone’s way, and the states of California and Texas in particular have expanses of arid, sunny land ideal for these panels. Not only is there enough room, but these dry regions have strong sunlight and little cloud cover, maximizing efficiency. These arrays can power entire neighborhoods or city blocks at a time, replacing fossil fuel power plants as they are built.