Tim McKibben, left, a senior installer for the solar company, Sunrun, and installer Aaron Newsom install solar panels on the roof of a home in Granada Hills, Calif. on Jan. 4, 2020. In foreground carrying another solar panel to be installed is lead installer Luis Jimenez. Photo courtesy of Mel Melcon/Los Angeles Times/TNS
In today’s society, electricity is viewed as a necessity for most. From turning on lights to charging cell phones, humans are constantly using electricity in order to support their daily activities. However, as the world of technology evolves, so must the ways in which people choose to obtain electricity.
Solar panels use sunlight, a renewable energy source, to create electricity without harming the environment. The invention of solar panels all began with the discovery of solar cells, which use sunlight directly from the sun to make electricity.
Solar panels were created when multiple solar experts came together to put solar cells to good use. They realized that when solar cells worked together, they could provide energy for a countless number of people in an environmentally-efficient way.
Since they were discovered, solar panels have been used for numerous everyday items. They continue to provide efficient and environmentally-friendly power to machines like road signs, bus stops, parking meters and ATMs. Besides this, solar panels are used by families and businesses across the world as direct power or backup power for homes and offices.
In the past, the world relied on non-renewable resources for the entirety of its electrical needs. In simple terms, a non-renewable resource is a natural resource that has a limited supply and will eventually cease to exist. This occurs when natural resources like gas and coal are burned and converted into electrical energy.
Although this process once served as the most efficient way for people to use their appliances worldwide, scientists now understand that this process is not only unsustainable, but extremely detrimental to the environment.
Solar panels differ from energy sources like fossil fuels because they possess the ability to reduce the effects of urban decay and global warming.
According to Valery Masson, an environmental expert from France, “The deployment of solar panels is good both globally, to produce renewable energy (and hence to limit the warming of the climate) and locally, to decrease the Urban Heat Island, especially in summer, when it can constitute a health threat.”
Despite the environmental benefits, one factor that may make families question whether or not to switch to solar power are the included expenses. Overall, the installation as well as the panels themselves can be quite costly. In fact, most homeowners will pay between $17,169 and $31,801 to switch to solar power.
Although they can be viewed as financially risky, those who install solar panels will gain numerous benefits. These positives include lower electric bills, lower carbon footprints and potentially higher home values.
Other than expenses, homeowners should consider their location. Due to solar panels being powered by the sun, they work best in locations closer to the equator that supply constant sunlight.
“We live in Florida so I would definitely consider getting solar panels for my future home, especially because I am very passionate about the environment,” Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School sophomore Giuliana Venturini said.
Nathaniel Riley, an author with 28 years of experience in the financial services sector, states, “Utility companies often charge residential consumers a flat rate for electricity, regardless of the time of consumption. This means that instead of offsetting the expensive cost of peak electricity production, homeowners' solar power systems merely offset the price they are charged for electricity, which is much closer to the average cost of power production.”
In summary, solar panels provide multiple environmental benefits and serve as a practical option for many. Those looking to support the environment should consider exploring solar panels and all they have to offer.
Story by Sophia Golberg