Among all the types of clean energy out there, one type taking the lead is solar energy which is used for virtually anything from providing home electricity, to powering outdoor lights, to charging smart phones.
But what exactly is clean energy? A source of power that places little to no pollutants such as greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Clean energy is what we want for our planet, which we can find within solar power.
How Does Solar Work?
At this point, many are already aware of how solar works or at least have a gist of it. But to recap, solar panels – which can be purchased or rented – “collect” kinetic energy from the sun, converting it into usable electrical energy that can then power appliances, lights, heaters, air conditioners, and so on.
Any extra energy produced but not used by one’s solar panels can potentially be sent to the National Grid, if it is hooked up to it, to help your solar essentially pay for itself.
Nowadays, the use of solar energy is getting even more creative and wide-ranging.
Why Do People Choose Solar?
Many opt for solar because it’s energy efficient, eco-friendly, renewable, and affordable. In fact, it’s only becoming more popular.
According to Solar Industry Research Data, the annual growth rate of solar has been 59 percent within the past decade. Solar technology has also become significantly cheaper by 70 percent since 2010, making it a prime time to make the switch.
Doing away with unclean sources of energy, especially nonrenewable ones such as coal or natural gas, this can also help reduce greenhouse gases, and in turn, the risks of global warming and other short- and long-term environmental concerns.
Going solar is a great way to go green and make use of a natural resource: the sun.
New Westminster Solar Garden
You already have an idea of what solar panels are used for, but various community products such as the one we’re about to talk about are making significant progress on our planet.
A new solar garden project in New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada is currently in progress at Queensborough Community Centre and is planned to be completed towards the end of this month. The garden will be named, the Urban Solar Garden, as the notion of it is urban.
The idea behind this solar-run garden is to help provide the city of New Westminster a long-term source of renewable energy. Within 15 to 19 years, the panels would eventually begin to pay for themselves.
The approximately $140,000 Urban Solar Garden project will be complete with 156 purchased solar panels that will have the power to generate up to 50 kilowatts per hour – or 54,000 kilowatts annually.
Regardless of New Westminster being the first local government in British Columbia to create and run its very own solar garden, the New Westminster community was all for it.
Participants and supporters of the Urban Solar Garden are anticipating that the project will encourage other communities to provide a similar source of clean energy in the near future as well.
While it has yet to be completed, we can safely say that the New Westminster solar project is already encouraging individuals, non-profit organizations, small and large businesses, and communities to make an impact.
Play a Role in Clean Energy
Solar is a great direction to go, but it’s not the only option. The clean energy revolution is also powered by turbine (wind) power, geothermal energy, hydropower, among other sources.
Besides opting for clean, renewable sources of energy to power your home and/or business on a broad scale, you can also play your part in these simpler ways:
- Keep lights off when you’re not using them.
- Use solar light fixtures in your yard.
- Install exterior light fixtures that are motion-sensored.
- Replace all bulbs in your home and/or business with LED light bulbs.
- Donate to non-profit renewable energy organizations.
- Ensure your home is airtight (especially around doors and windows).
- Take advantage of power strips.
- Update your air conditioner and refrigerator if they are older as newer ones can be more energy efficient.
- Opt for an electricity monitor for your home.
- When necessary, wash your clothes in cold or warm water versus hot water.
- Continuously educate yourself on clean energy, the innovations associated with such, and other ways to go green when it comes to electricity.
And of course, if you have the opportunity to advocate for, encourage, donate to, or partake in a clean energy project in a city near you, go for it.
However, one challenge that comes up is that community projects involving energy are often not funded because the sector is reducing funding, and approximately 30 percent of such projects have failed, be delayed, or even defunded.
But being a voice in your community for clean energy alternatives is one way to solve the latter issue; and as mentioned, being energy-efficient in small ways within in your home and/or business setting can also make a start. It all begins with one person and their decision to make Earth a better planet.