A Historical Resource

A world in turmoil, dwindling resources, and an uncertain future: this is what faces you and your children right now. The question of our current power resources running out is not a matter of “if” but “when”. The solution lies above us, as it always has for Planet Earth: the Sun. Solar energy as an option has been on the table for decades, but only recently has it become more affordable and easy to access. With the structures and faculties for installation in place, it’s never been easier to create a brighter and better future.

Solar power as a technology has been around since the 1860s. Originally developed as an alternative to coal power, its evolution was stymied as more manpower and brains were devoted to first coal and natural gas, and later nuclear power. The advent of the Energy Crisis and turmoil in the Middle East lead to increased interest in the mid-to-late 1970s, though that was again stymied by a combination of eventual gas price decreases and a general lack of interest in the tech in the 80s. When the wave of environmental concern hit pop culture though, more research and time was spent on the technology, leading to the advances of today.

Long demonized behind closed doors by those in charge of the gas and oil companies, solar power has made a startling come back in recent years. Seen by many as a very viable alternative to the existing power grid, photovoltaic arrays sufficient to power a residential home year-round are now easily installed and established, leading to less (and in some cases non-existent) reliance on the power company, lower bills, and a cleaner environmental footprint all around. The greenhouse emission of a solar array is negligible, especially when compared to the output of a coal power plant, or the waste left from a nuclear plant. Taken in total, this will lessen the strain on the environment, and hopefully help to start repairing the damage we as a people have done to it thus far in history.

Storage solutions have been an issue for as long as solar power has been discussed, as the ability to power a solar dependent dwelling at night or on sunless days is a major concern. Fortunately, rechargeable batteries are commonplace and easy to connect to arrays, and scientists and researchers are constantly improving their storage capacity and longevity. Additionally, research into alternative storage solutions, such as artificial photosynthesis and water batteries, is ongoing.

The economic impact of a residential home solar array is not to be overlooked either. As mentioned above, the difference in your power bill would be astounding. Additionally, many states, such as California, offer subsidies and tax breaks to those who install solar power arrays on their property. CA also offers breaks on property taxes to those who do so, which is doubly beneficial, as the installation of a solar array boosts the value of a property solely through its existence. Some research should be done, to see if your home state gives any breaks, and to what extent they subsidize the cost of installation.

It’s been a long road for solar power, and there’s a longer one ahead. While not by any means ubiquitous, it is growing in popularity, and soon should be a viable option for every home in every state.┬áIt is well worth your time to examine your options, to plan for the future, and to see what solar power has to offer you.

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