Solar power has long been touted as the best way to decrease the production of greenhouse gases, keep energy costs down, and save our environment. Though it has been in use for decades in ever-greater intensity, the next two or three decades will see a huge leap forward in technology and market penetration. In fact, the International Energy Agency estimates that by the year 2050, solar will be the planet’s largest source of energy.
Due to the drop in prices that new technology will facilitate and government policies in many countries to support it, solar energy will be more accessible, affordable, and powerful than ever. However, we don’t need to wait for 2050 to see the immense effects solar is having on our planet. Here are just a few examples of what solar power is accomplishing around the world.
Solar panels for homes and commercial buildings have been around for years, but newer, sleeker options make the technology more visually attractive and easier to install. Solar shingles are miniature panels of photovoltaic cells that lie flat on the roof, similar to regular shingles. Depending on the brand of shingle, these innovative investments could save homeowners up to 70% on their monthly electric bill.
Solar vehicles have improved steadily since hitting the scene in a rudimentary way as far back as the 1950s. New concept cars are more efficient, user-friendly, and affordable than ever. Ford has unveiled the C-Max Solar Energi, with rooftop solar panels that effectively magnify sunlight to increase power production, while the Immortus concept is claimed to run at up to 60 miles per hour on solar power alone. Many of these solar innovations will pair with batteries to create cars that need little to no fuel and release only trace emissions.
Powering a Stadium or a Bridge
Solar is powering larger and more complex structures than ever. Taiwan’s 50,000-seat Dragon Stadium for example, has solar ‘scales’ on its dragon-shaped structure that provide for all of its electricity needs.
Another example of a massive structure powered by solar is Blackfriars Bridge in London. The world’s largest solar bridge, it has been fitted with 4,400 photovoltaic panels and can generate up to a megawatt of electricity on a sunny day. The solar capacity of this bridge is expected to reduce the Blackfriars railroad station’s C02 emissions by more than 560 tons a year.
Powering a Festival
Cultural events, especially those aimed at environmentally-conscious revelers, are adopting solar power to reduce their carbon footprint. One example is the Los Angeles Sunstock Solar Festival, which is 100% powered by the sun. Because festivals can consume massive amounts of energy in just a few days’ time, this move could have a major impact.
The future of solar is bright. As innovation continues, we will see more and more options to save the environment and save a bit in our bank accounts as well. If you have questions about solar energy for home or business use in Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey or Delaware, please contact us.