The Environment Runs on Solar Power. Here’s How We Can Too
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When Edison invented the light bulb, it appeared as if he had accomplished the objective in a quick time frame. However, it took more than 1,000 attempts. Today, the light bulb is so iconic and automatic that we can’t fully leverage solar power in our homes without it.
This leads us to an ever-important question: How do we make solar power as prevalent as the light bulb, and what other renewable energy technologies will proliferate with more solar-powered homes, businesses, and communities?
We’ve been given all the raw materials to leverage solar power, and almost as if it were our birthright. However, attitudes, innovation, and perception must change.
The tool in question and the celestial body enthroned at the center of our solar system, the sun, is the renewable resource of our future. Although the sun has been set in motion by something beyond the scope of our fullest comprehension, the solar panels which make use of it prove the sun is not beyond the scope of our innovative efforts and overall resourcefulness. Yet economists, policy pundits, and consumers insanely ask whether solar makes sense.
The very nature of nonrenewable resources means that, as they become more scarce, basic economic principles mean costs will skyrocket. A nonrenewable resource, however, will not increase in price, nor will the technology to leverage it. Even with the 201 Trade Case Tariff, financially savvy solar companies have yet to raise prices and pass along costs to solar prospects.
Here is what the inter-mountain west (and the world at large) will need to make a predominantly solar-powered citizenry possible.
Solar Innovation, Investment, and Research
As someone who has studied electrical innovation and solar-powered mediums for the past decade, it’s clear we are on the cusp of making big breakthroughs in solar innovation, particularly when it comes to battery backup, residential solar, and storage technology.
Although solar investment projections declined in light of the new tariffs, the 201 Trade Case has created both a domestic orientation toward solar power and teamwork among innovators in the industry who would otherwise not have collaborated. Nascent ideas will develop in ways where, quite frankly, they haven’t before.
Any market comprised by passionate and invested parties (as is the case with solar) thrives and grows amid challenges. What some may perceive as a tumultuous year for solar will generate new partnerships, ideas, and plans that assist solar advocates in achieving grid parity.
As inopportune as some may feel the seller’s solar market has become, it is what’s needed to steer change in the right direction.
Research is the key to continued development. Learning how to better manufacture and recycle solar will lead to improved technology. As our industry continues to hone in on solar technology, what is only imagined will become a reality.
Solar was first invented in 1839 but did not start to flourish until the 1970s. The progression of photovoltaics has required the investment of many individuals, and investors and innovators must remember that every thousand-mile journey begins with a single step. The length of the journey doesn’t negate the need to take it.
Diversifying and Expanding Solar Delivery Models
The addition of solar-compatible equipment makes getting solar a no-brainer. As new methods of using solar continue, so will its prevalence.
Envisioning the Healthy Connected Home (and Lifestyle)
Today, we have smart homes that allow us to access appliances from our phones. This allows you to turn off lights you left on and set timers for more efficient use of appliances. This technology paired with a solar array allows you to use less energy while producing it. This is a big part of how solar must be sold moving forward — as part of a greater apparatus making healthy, connected homes. Portable integration kits and solar generators allow us to power our appliances in an emergency. Solar panels give this kit the charge it needs to power your appliances in an outage.
Community Solar Projects
Sometimes referred to as “solar garden,” community solar projects take solar power provided by a third party and distribute the electricity to a community of homes. This is not only a viable option for lower income areas, but also a sustainable model for charitable solar projects. While few private entities have embraced this delivery model, government dollars have been used to reify these projects.
This delivery model for solar power will get us even closer to achieving grid parity. As more people join the solar revolution, entire communities will benefit. For most, the price is the main reason why they don’t want solar. However, community solar allows more individuals the ability to afford renewable energy in mass.
Why Solar Power Will Be the Next Step in Renewable Energy Innovation
Where would we be without the light of the sun? Our bones were formed from its stardust and stardust of other stars like it, fusing hydrogen into helium and bone into what would carry the brain above its shoulders — 92.5 million miles away, yet always in our corner. If we fail to rely on solar to guide us toward light and power in all forms as we did throughout other focal points of humankind’s innovation timeline, we will send human progress out of its orbit, leading it astray and into oblivion.