Solar Power: Then and Now
Solar power used to be considered a pipe dream, something that wasn’t attainable at the time. However, the solar industry is one of the fastest growing markets in the U.S. and the world today, and even the United States Vice President presided over a solar power convention held in California, indicating that the presidential office considered solar energy more than just a passing fad.
Over 5 million homes can be powered using just solar energy, said theSolar Energy Industries Association. The solar industry, with the help of funding from the U.S. government, hopes to double their reach within two years, and hope to add even more solar units to homes. $18 million a year enters the American economy through solar panel jobs, installation, and maintenance, which is a fairly impressive number. Nearly 175,000 people are employed in the solar industry, and that number increases by nearly 10% every year.
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The main cause of this change in attitude towards solar energy is the broad acceptance of climate change. President Obama issued a statement early in 2015 claiming that the energy and resources used to live as Americans do every day will not sustain the planet we all live on, and committed his administration to furthering clean energy research and funding. The Department of Energy has now been gifted more money to increase solar unit installation in homes, businesses and other buildings, and private companies have been given grants to explore the range of solar technologies.
The Solar Energy Industries Association found that the Department of Defense claimed 16 million acres of land to explore renewable energy (wind and solar), and also stated that the Department of Defense hoped to provide nearly 25% of American energy sources from these renewable generators by 2025.
Solar power, which was never considered a talking point in prior elections, will become one of the mainstays of the 2016 election. Democratic hopeful Hilary Clinton has posed solar power as a pillar of her platform, statingthat by the end of 2021 (her first term), she will have increased solar capacity in the U.S. by 700%. She also wants to add that 1/3 of the United States’ energy would come from renewable sources by 2027. To give you an idea, the renewable energy used in the American power grid is less than 1% currently. A 32% increase in renewable energy in the next 11 years is a rather astounding feat, one that would never have been possible when resources like solar energy where first considered.
Is Solar Power Enough?
Many argue that solar power is like putting a bandage over a broken dam- not sufficient enough to fix the problems we have already created that we see with climate change. However, if countries and leaders pool their resources and innovation, the world may be able to create enough solar energy to power the majority of the grids in existence.
If we can reverse some of the damage we have done, we can prolong our current life on Earth.