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Clean Power solar energy

Published on August 23rd, 2011 | by Zachary Shahan


About Solar Power / Why Solar Power

August 23rd, 2011 by  

This isn’t an intro on solar power technology (some top posts on that are linked at the bottom, though) or how solar power works. This is a quick intro on some of the top topics of concern to those who want to see us cruise into a bright future.

This is just a start. It is a growing resource page on solar that will be continually updated (much like the wind power page we are still adding to). And it is now easily accessible on the side of our site.

If you have something you want to add, just shoot me a message on Google+ or a comment here!

Solar Power Myths Are So Last Year

Solar power myths and anti-solar-power talking points are all over the place. I think the ones in this fabricated quote are the most common:

“Solar power is just a tiny portion of our electricity supply and will never be more. Solar power is just too expensive and too impractical.”

Completely ridiculous that anyone would believe or say these things, and here are some key reasons why:

1. Solar energy is the most abundant source of energy on the planet, by far. Just take a look at the image below, and note that renewable energy potential below is per year while it is in total for fossil fuels. Clear enough?

"Comparing finite and renewable planetary energy reserves (Terawatt‐years). Total recoverable reserves are shown for the finite resources. Yearly potential is shown for the renewables." (source: Perez & Perez, 2009a)

2. Solar power costs are dropping like leaves in the fall, unless my eyes deceive me (see images below).

With almost all technologies, it takes awhile for direct costs to hit a point where the masses will buy them, but once that point is reached, Bam!

While the true cost of solar is already competitive with other options, we don’t really take the true cost into account with our decisions.

Additionally, while investing in solar power is already a super intelligent thing to do, meaning your return on investment is excellent since you can save so much money on electricity every month and (with the tremendous government incentives and innovative purchasing options available today) can end up making money on your solar power system before you know it.

It’s true that we don’t have a ton of solar installed yet, but we’re getting there (see the next section). Also, even with the fossil fuel industry stacked against us, progress is being made. Costs, in general, continue to fall fast. Here’s more on costs:

  1. True Value of Solar Power (linked above)
  2. Cost of Solar Power Competitive with Coal Some Places, & Dropping Fast
  3. GE: Solar Power Cheaper than Fossil Fuels in 5 years
  4. Solar Power Graphs to Make You Smile
  5. Historic Report: Solar Energy Costs Now Lower than Nuclear Energy

3. The solar power industry in the U.S. and globally is growing at a breakneck pace, largely for the reasons mentioned above (and the widespread acceptance that we need to combat global warming). For details, if the graphs above aren’t enough for you, check out any of these posts:

  1. Solar Industry on Solyndra, Tremendous Job Growth (100,000 US Jobs Now), & Doubling of Installed PV
  2. U.S. Solar Energy Growth Continues to Crush Records (10 Key Findings)
  3. International Solar PV Nearly Doubled, PV Growth Doubled in 2010
  4. Cleantech’s Revolutionary Growth & Expectations for Coming 10 Years
  5. Solar Power Blowing Up in the United States
  6. Solar Power Graphs to Make You Smile
  7. Solar Energy Markets and Growth

click to enlarge

We’ll follow up with some more important points soon. Again, if you want to chime in, you can comment below or connect with me on Google+.

For those interested in cool or ‘new’ solar technologies, here are some posts for you:

  1. Spain’s Gemasolar 24/7 Power Plant (VIDEO)
  2. 1st Large-Scale 24/7 Solar Power Plant to be Built in U.S.
  3. Cheap Solar Paint
  4. Solar Shingles about to Blow Up?
  5. Solar Energy Telescope: More Output, Less Cost
  6. High-Efficiency Solar Cells Getting More Efficient, Cheaper
  7. How to: Cheap or Free Solar Panels
  8. Solar Thermal Panels, Practical but Not Yet Popular – A Solar Overview

Top image via University of Albany

Info on electricity rates.

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About the Author

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession and Solar Love. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, and Canada. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in. But he offers no professional investment advice and would rather not be responsible for you losing money, so don't jump to conclusions.

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