Electricity production accounts for 25% of total carbon emissions in the U.S. – EPA.Gov
In an antiquated fossil fuel system, we burn physically stored energy that’s been dug up, processed and shipped from all over the world. The stored energy in the coal, gas, etc., comes from broken down organic matter that was once living and breathing plants and animals. These plants and animals were nourished by the sun, lived, died, and then through eons of time broke down and became the concentrated flammable material from which humans have powered our pasts. We need that energy. We depend on it. However, we can capture nearly all the energy we need directly from the sun.
What solar energy does is take the middle man out of our energy relationship with the sun. Instead of relying on breaking down old matter to power our futures and scouring the earth to replenish our needs, we take the energy directly from the sun by using what’s known as the photovoltaic effect.
The photovoltaic effect is a phenomenon in nature where the energy of light is converted to electric energy. Photons in sunlight can stimulate the electrons in certain semiconductor materials that we find in nature, mainly silicon. When the electrons within the material are excited enough to overcome the resistance in the material, power starts to flow. We take that energy and route it through a circuit to power anything we need. Producing energy this way by harnessing the power of photons beaming down from the sun is drastically cleaner than burning anything we know of. We capture this power by using PV panels, using what we need and storing or selling the “extra” energy that may be flowing.
We take the energy directly from the sun by using what’s known as the photovoltaic effect.
PV panels are constructed mostly of the element silicon. The silicon in old panels is recyclable. Other materials are used in conjunction with silicon to create cells which together build voltage and power for a circuit. The potential uses for this power are many and the impact of a transition to solar energy from dug up energy are astounding. Most solar systems will last at least 25 years before being decommissioned and recycled.
Not only can solar power your home, but it can power your cars, trucks, mowers, and many other types of equipment. Gone are the days of needing a gas station to fill up. In the futuristic world of the present, you can fill up your vehicle on sunshine while you relax at home.
Farmers and ranchers can take even more advantage of the free flow of photons by building solar systems to meet all of their energy needs from well pumps to remote power in off grid situations.
Solar gives you a way to energize your life without constant burning, and transportation of fuel, and it saves you large sums of money. With solar, the materials to make the panels are dug up once and can provide energy for at least the next 25 years. When you’re done with the panels, you can then recycle the majority of the material. With solar power, everyone can win.
In 2019, power plants that burned coal, natural gas, and petroleum fuels were the source of about 62% of total U.S. electricity generation, but they accounted for 99% of U.S. electricity-related CO2 emissions. The other 1% of CO2 emissions were from other fuels and gases derived from fossil fuels and some types of geothermal power plants. EIA considers electricity generation from biomass, hydro, solar, and wind to be carbon neutral. – U.S. Energy Information Administration