Thursday, October 25, 2012

Sun vs. fossil fuels – and the winner is?

Our Sun is by far the most abundant source of energy available on our planet but regardless of this well known fact, fossil fuels still rule the global energy market as our society is still heavily dependent on oil, coal, and natural gas.

This means that at the moment fossil fuels are winning the battle against the Sun. But in the future, there should be only one winner – and that is solar energy.

This not just because of its incredible abundance and the fact that fossil fuels will eventually become exhausted but also because of major environmental benefits connected with using solar energy (no greenhouse gas emissions, no air pollution issue).

Sun will continue to shine for at lest next 5 billion years if current scientific reports are correct, while the world could run out of oil within the next 100 years. This means that solar energy can provide future energy security, and fossil fuels can't, and even the almighty fossil fuel lobbies can't change this fact.

More domestic solar energy means reduced dependence on foreign oil import which means that our money stays within our own borders and is used to develop our own domestic energy industry. The development of solar energy industry creates many new jobs and helps spur future economic development. Solar energy industry is already one of the fastest growing industries worldwide.

Solar energy can also provide excellent energy alternative for rural areas that have no access to power because connecting these areas to fossil fuel fired power plants requires expensive infrastructure, making solar energy one of the most cost-effective energy solutions for the electrification of these areas.

Of course, solar energy is still far from being the perfect energy source. Solar power technologies not only need to lower their costs but they also have to significantly improve their efficiency. What this means is that solar energy sector needs science to solve these two major issues.

How quickly will science be able to solve these issues? Difficult to tell, though there have been some promising researches that will hopefully lead to quicker commercialization of new solar power technologies.

The science will be the one determining the rate of transition from fossil fuels to solar and renewable energy in general. There's no question that solar energy will eventually rule the world. The only question is when?