Solar Energy Compared to Fossil Fuels

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Solar Energy Compared to Fossil Fuels


We talk a lot about the benefits of solar energy, but these benefits are made even more abundantly clear when solar energy is compared to fossil fuels in terms of cost, level of pollution, and environmental benefits. When considering the facts, it’s clear that solar energy wins in all of these areas every single time.

How Solar Energy Works

First, it’s helpful to understand how solar energy harnesses the power of the sun’s rays and converts it cleanly into usable energy. It’s all about the photovoltaic process.

The photovoltaic process goes something like this: sun rays hit solar panels, causing particles of light hit the photovoltaic cells within the panel. These cells are made up of semiconductors, typically silicon. This semiconductor knocks electrons loose in these particles of light, generating an electric current. This current is then directed to wiring where it is taken to an inverter that takes the direct current (DC) and converts it to grid-and-appliance-applicable alternating current (AC). From there it’s sent to the electrical panel in your home, sent to power everything from your ceiling fan to your refrigerator to your phone charger.

As you’ll notice, this process requires absolutely no damage to the Earth’s surface and doesn’t involve releasing any harmful chemicals into the atmosphere.

What are fossil fuels?

On the other hand, what are fossil fuels? Fossil fuels include coal, crude oil, and natural gas. They’re called fossil fuels because they are produced over the course of millions of years as formerly-living organisms become fossilized. Obtaining these materials from the Earth requires extensive and often hazardous mining and drilling operations. It’s not a rare for these operations to either severely damage or destroy ecosystems and habitats across the Earth.

The Danger of Greenhouse Gases

What’s more, fossil fuels release carbon dioxide when burned, sending harmful greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. This is what climate scientists blame climate change on: an excess of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere contributes to rising temperatures within the atmosphere, resulting in climate changes and extreme weather patterns.

Solar vs. Fossil Fuels


Now that we’ve seen where solar energy and fossil fuels come from, respectively, it’s easy to see why solar is the cleaner and more environmentally-friendly option. Solar requires no harm to Earth’s ecosystems — no mining or drilling required. It’s generated from the sun’s rays, not by destroying environments and natural habitats.

Solar also runs quiet and generates absolutely no pollution when it runs. Switching to solar is a way to take a small step towards combating massive air, soil, and water pollution across the globe.

And lastly, solar energy is renewable — meaning there’s always more of it to be easily captured from the sun’s rays! Fossil fuels, on the other hand, are non-renewable — once they’ve been used up, they’re gone (at least for another few million years).

Solar wins, every time!

When compared to fossil fuels, solar wins every single time. In switching to solar, you’ll be trading a limited, environmentally-detrimental power source for a completely clean, renewable one. Reach out to a solar energy specialist to learn more about how you can switch to solar!