The relatively high cost of energy filters down to the cost of just about everything because anything that requires transportation to the market will feel the pinch of higher energy costs and then pass the cost down to consumers. Those driving to work see the effect of higher energy prices every time they go to the pump. The new normal when it comes to energy prices has led many to call for alternative energy sources.
Solar Power Moves beyond the Development Stage
Both environmentalists and those who oppose the use of fossil fuels for geopolitical reasons say the world needs cheaper forms of alternative and renewable energy. But solar energy has suffered in the past, simply because it was not efficient or affordable enough to power a country, much less the planet.
Most new technologies are expensive when they first hit the market, but improvements to production lead to lower costs. Henry Ford’s Model-T, the first car built on assembly lines with interchangeable parts is a perfect example. More recent examples include personal computers and flat-panel televisions. Today, more experts are looking into solar power as a renewable alternative to traditional fuels like coal and oil that can give similar ubiquitous power throughout the world.
A New Study Shows Solar Could Power the World
The World Future Energy Summit recently met and released a study carried out by the World Wildlife Fund. This study, contrary to the argument that solar energy could never work on a large scale, indicated that harnessing the sun’s energy could power all the energy needs in the seven major regions the study examined.
In Indonesia, Mexico, Morocco, South Africa, Turkey, Madagascar and the Indian province of Madhya Pradash, just 1 percent of the landmass in each of these nations could power 100 percent of the population by 2050 if they made a serious move toward the use of solar power and used only photovoltaic technology.
Benefits of Switching to Renewable Energy
These nations all have extensive sunlight throughout the year, but they also have relatively high populations. The use of solar power for energy benefits the world in a few major ways. The first is a cut in the demand for traditional fossil fuels. Lower demand usually leads to lower costs. Additionally, once the photovoltaic cells are set up, they can continue to produce energy as long as they get sunlight. While there would be some necessary maintenance, solar power is a renewable energy source that could theoretically last as long as the sun itself. A switch to solar power and a corresponding cut to fossil fuel use would cut down on the amount of pollution and carbon greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere. Therefore, there are both environmental and economic benefits in making the move toward solar energy.
New technology is making solar power on a large scale possible. This new study by the WWF shows that a small fraction of land could power entire nations. The long-term environmental and economic benefits of this move are obvious.
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