Originally published on Cost of Solar*.
Where does the energy we need, animals need, and plants need come from? Largely, it just comes from the sun. Plants use solar energy to grow and develop, and animals and humans then get that energy from plants. It’s an amazing thing that we generally don’t give much thought to.
Interestingly, a similar thing we don’t give much attention to is that the fuel we use to create electricity and to power our vehicles also essentially comes from the same source. Fossilized remains of plants and animals are burnt in order to create our electricity and move our cars and planes forward.
Does all this get you thinking? It certainly got me thinking….
When it comes to energy, the bottom line is, solar energy is the mother lode. The sun is the mother of our gigantic energy supplies. Many people who have reflected on this have seen that solar energy is the most promising source of energy in the long term (and, increasingly, in the medium and short term). As a 1931 quotation from Thomas Edison on the bottom of this website states, “I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that.”
Unfortunately for Mr. Edison, we have probably waited quite a bit too long. But at least we are getting to it now!
Solar Energy Potential vs Energy Potential From Other Renewables & Fossil Fuels
Beyond general reflection, check out this fascinating chart below regarding the potential of solar energy compared to other commons sources of energy. But before doing so, pay attention to this very important note: solar energy potential and energy potential shown for the other renewable energy resources is annual potential, while the energy potential shown for the fossil fuel resources is total recoverable reserves.
Source: Perez & Perez, 2009a
Yep, solar energy really is the mother lode.
So, the question is, what have we been waiting for? Well, we had to develop a technology that could efficiently and cost-effectively capture that solar energy and turn it into electricity. Luckily, we’ve now been able to develop such technology, and solar panels are so ridiculously cheap now (after years of rapid cost drops) that the average American who goes solar now saves over $20,000 over 20 years from doing so.
Perhaps it’s time to do the obvious and put your money on solar energy… just as Thomas Edison would have done if he were alive today. At the very least, get a quote in order to see how much you could save by going solar today.
*Full Disclosure: CleanTechnica and Cost of Solar have a financial relationship. That said, CleanTechnica doesn’t get anything in return (no additional revenue) from republishing this article.
Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!
Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.
Electrifying Industrial Heat for Steel, Cement, & More
I don't like paywalls. You don't like paywalls. Who likes paywalls? Here at CleanTechnica, we implemented a limited paywall for a while, but it always felt wrong — and it was always tough to decide what we should put behind there. In theory, your most exclusive and best content goes behind a paywall. But then fewer people read it! We just don't like paywalls, and so we've decided to ditch ours. Unfortunately, the media business is still a tough, cut-throat business with tiny margins. It's a never-ending Olympic challenge to stay above water or even perhaps — gasp — grow. So ...