Real Estate

What if everyone used solar energy at home?

Did you know that if we equip half of the houses in America with full-size solar panels, there is a chance that we can power the entire United States with solar energy? The location of the panels would have to be strategically located to maximize solar efficiency, but once in place, the United States could have 25 years of energy independence from foreign oil for its electricity needs.

A great example of how this energy can affect local neighborhoods is Iwaki New Town, Japan. His neighborhood has 46 homes fully equipped with solar energy. These 46 homes provide 310,000 kWh per year, which can power more than 90 homes! The climate of Iwaki New Town is very similar to that of many cities in the southern and western US It is sunny between 250 and 300 days a year and there is very little snow.

If we equip every home in Florida, the Carolinas, Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and California, the US would have more than 70% of its electricity needs satisfied with the energy of the sun alone. If you add less sunny states like Tennessee, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nevada, and Utah, we could easily supply 100% of America’s electrical needs with solar power alone. If every business in the United States used this abundant resource regardless of location, we could produce more electricity than we would need.

Imagine that other countries, like Canada and Mexico, depend on the United States for energy. Those benefits could be reinvested in maintaining those solar systems and increasing incentives for homeowners to start using renewable energy.

Furthermore, the carbon footprint of solar energy is infinitesimal compared to conventional gas and electricity systems. The only carbon footprint produced by solar panels is the small amount of carbon used in production. The myth that it takes more carbon to produce a solar panel than to run one is false. Once in operation, a panel has zero carbon emissions and lasts for more than 25 years. Just one large solar power plant producing more than 1 mW a year replaces more than 1,500 cars on the road when it comes to carbon footprint: YEAR. Over the course of 25 years of reliable renewable energy, this equates to more than 37,500 cars for a single solar power plant!

The other advantage of using the sun’s energy is the recyclability of the panels, inverters and batteries. Once a panel fails, it is easily recycled to produce more panels. Glass and solar cells can be melted and “recharged” to make even more panels. The same goes for electrical components like the inverter and the battery. The metals within the inverter can be fused to create more electrical diodes and pairings, and the batteries can be remanufactured to make more batteries. This is similar to what we do with cell phones that have been recycled. Recycling plants that recycle these parts could also run on solar energy, further reducing our carbon footprint as we recreate new solar energy systems and recycle old ones.

Best of all, as this type of power becomes more popular, the cost of these systems invariably goes down. Also, as we recycle more of these systems, more parts are available and more owners can invest in the solar panel industry. It may seem like a huge cost, but when you consider the rising cost of electricity, how can we justify not using solar power?

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