When asked, an astonishing 27% of Americans thought that solar power would be the most used source of electricity in fifteen years time, according to the trade association of the nuclear power industry. Why astonishing? Because, despite the generally held idea that solar power is proliferating, less than 0.01 per cent of the country’s electricity came from solar power in 2006, the last year for which we have figures, and current estimates indicate that no more than 2-3% of power will be solar in twenty-five years time.
The fact is that the nuclear and other lobbies are well established, and the current vogue for bio-fuels draws attention away from what is the most sensible and easiest renewable energy source on the planet. It’s plainly obvious what is basically troublesome about nuclear power – just listen to the (sensible) NIMBY attitude to nuclear waste, which will remain dangerous for eons to come, not to mention the terrorist opportunities offered. Oil, coal and gas are finite resources, and recovering them from the ground is not without danger for the workers. Bio-fuels look to a good harvest, and steal foodstuffs away from the needy.
That said, solar energy is on the threshold of becoming mainstream, thanks to government grants and developments in technology. Unlike the other offerings, solar is still a young enough industry to be benefiting from quantum leaps in design, and, although the grant and rebate schemes generally ensure that the economics of going solar are currently advantageous, research is taking place into areas that will make the changeover to the sun’s power a “no-brainer” for most people in a few years, even without them. It seems likely that the projection for the future given above, which is based on current trends and technology, will easily be beaten in actual fact.
When you have committed to be a part of the energy solution, and install solar power in your house, the first step would be an energy audit, which you can do yourself, but are likely to benefit from getting in an expert. This will show you how to reduce your energy needs, and is a useful exercise at any time. With reduced energy needs, your solar installation will cost less.
For those for whom the initial investment is just too difficult, even to get free energy, there is an answer emerging from some venture capitalism. You will shortly be able to rent your solar installation, leaving the planning, installation and maintenance to the rental company, and pay only your current electricity costs – for up to twenty-five years! What a great way to guard against future energy price inflation, and to join the growing band of forward thinking people who take active steps to protect our environment.
Learn more about Solar Power and how you can use it to produce electric power, heating or cooling.