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Could Solar Energy Take Over?
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Could Solar Energy Take Over?
This article is all about the use of solar power and the advantages of the solar power. Solar power in the US have become a very big game changer in the current decade.

For well over a century, residential and business energy users have been beholden to the power grid—and more importantly, the monolithic entities that control them—for all of their electricity needs. Thanks to the power of the sun, however, this is about to change. The solar power takeover is close at hand, and it will be here faster than you think, and from California to Connecticut, electric suppliers are terrified of the consequences.

Why solar?

There are many renewable energy resources other than solar power (wind, hydropower, biofuel, natural gas, etc.). There are no energy resources, however, that match the combination of abundance, cleanliness and raw power of solar energy. Since the sun is everywhere and absorbing its energy has absolutely no impact on the environment, there can be no argument against efficient solar technology by any group, including the electric companies in PA where 68 million tons of coal—by far our dirtiest source of energy and 56 percent of the state’s energy production—are produced each year.

The ability to harness solar power has existed for over a century. What is making it such a game changer now?

Better technology

Since its invention, the biggest problem with solar power technology has been its level of efficiency. It was so expensive to make and inefficient that few would reap any palpable benefits from its use and even fewer could afford it in the first place.

Over the past decade, two important things have happened to push solar technology forward. First, the photovoltaic solar cells themselves have experienced a massive improvement in efficiency and cost effectiveness. Second, thanks to efforts across all industries (not least of all the auto industry and their electric vehicles) the lithium-ion batteries that store and disperse the energy absorbed by the solar cells have become dramatically more efficient. To put things in perspective, this technology is now so efficient that a single day’s worth of solar energy could power the entire world for over a decade.

Solar technology is evolving beyond basic panels as well: cells are becoming so advanced that solar power technology is rapidly drifting into the realm of science fiction. For example, spray-on solar cells now exist and scientists are developing them for commercial use.

Government involvement

The US federal government and many state governments are stepping into the fray. Government programs are popping up like weeds; many of them involve helping consumers install their own solar panel system in a cost-effective manner. For example, in Connecticut—a state which has made many leaps towards solar energy in recent years—there is a program that allows traditional electric companies in CT to participate in their solar consumer assistance programs. In states like NJ, electric suppliers are required to use at least a certain percentage of renewable energy—solar is at the top of this list.

This solar invasion sounds great for everyone. Why are power companies so scared?

The answer to that question is simple: in the US, energy companies make over 100 billion dollars every year and they don’t want to give it up. Although they stand to make some profits from a solar nation, what they could make pales in comparison to the revenue they bring in now.

If they are so scared, why aren’t power companies doing anything?

They are. Solar is surrounding them and they are forced to take action regardless of whether they want to or not.  Some profit hungry energy companies are openly warring with solar, however, we know who will win. North Carolina’s Duke Energy, for example is claiming that solar users aren’t paying their fair share. On the other hand, some power companies are taking the smarter route: NJ electric suppliers NRG and PSE&G, for example, are actually selling their customers solar units.  At this point, it is time that the utilities all recognize the lead that solar is about to take and join in the revolution.
Can I take advantage of solar power now?

Yes. There are many programs that allow you to take advantage of environmental and economic benefits of solar power right now. For example, in CT, electric rates are being completely replaced with home and business solar panel system leases. Also, there are many electric companies in PA that exclusively use renewable energy (including solar) to generate power.

For the latter option, it can be difficult to find a renewable electric supplier in your area if you don’t know where to look. Fortunately, there are entities that can help. Make the Switch USA, for example, provides you with a full listing of electric companies in PA, NJ and CT that explicitly details how much renewable energy they use.

Author writes various articles and blogs about the CT electric rates that gives some useful information and suggestions about saving money on your electricity bill.

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Solar source
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SOLAR SOURCE designs, engineers and installs photovoltaic solar systems for residential and commercial electricity generation.
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Make the Switch USA provides a comprehensive resource for electric and gas customers to answer questions about energy deregulation and find out how they can benefit from it.