Here in the U.S.A. we’re gearing up to celebrate Thanksgiving. As the name attests, it is a holiday that calls us to give thanks. And we cannot do so without paying mention to solar power. You know us: we can talk the merits of solar PV all day. But in the interest of time, here are a few reasons we’re thankful for solar . . .
1. Solar pushes us to find better solutions
In a quiet town in southern Bavaria, the sun helps produce 500 percent more energy than inhabitants use. That, my friends, is no typo—500 percent. Much like any grid-connected system, surplus power is sold back to the utility. While impressive in and of itself, it’s not without concerns. Mainly, how do you maintain network stability? In an effort to answer this question, AÜW (their regional utility) and Siemens are testing out their smart grid . . .
2. It makes good business sense
More and more businesses are looking to go solar, not only for their bottom line, but to be better stewards of the environment. One of the latest to make headlines is Ford. They’ve announced a pilot program where they’ll install solar and wind systems to power buildings, charging stations, and lot lighting in four of their dealerships that sell a lot of hybrid/electric cars. An interesting twist: the wind sails will be branded, so while their main job will be harnessing power, they’ll be marketing on the side.
3. Solar gives hope to developing countries
For many years, it was assumed solar was out of reach for developing countries. But thanks to improved technologies, that is no longer the case. Today, solar helps provide electricity, even when the sun goes down—not only improving lives, but even helping to save them. Because of this, many of these countries are building policies and infrastructures that attract investors—together, they’re installing some amazing systems.
Those of us in the business of solar installation have long argued that solar power produces jobs—lots and lots of jobs. Of course, being in the industry, we tend to lose a bit of traction on that argument. We are, after all, a bit biased. Well, the U.K. Energy Research Center decided to look into those claims (apparently, the argument crosses the pond). Their conclusion: the green sector would create more jobs than the fossil fuel sector. That’s even taking into consideration the jobs lost by phasing out fossil-fuels, as well as a world without green policies.
5. It’s abundant
It seems so obvious, but solar is a free, abundant resource. That, alone, is worthy of our gratitude. A new report by Environment America puts it in perspective—mainly, enough sunlight reaches the United States every year to power the entire country 100 times over.