Humanity has always had power needs, and in the Industrial Revolution, animal and human power was replaced with steam power and electricity. This transformed power in most parts of the world, and as of the 20th century, fossil fuel power plants and nuclear plants become common. As the 21st century began, these fossil fuel sources continued to provide the bulk of power for the United Sates and abroad, but fossil fuels came under heavy scrutiny. After all, fossil fuels create a lot of pollution, such as atmosphere emissions. The global “go green” initiative calls for many measures to protect the natural world, and one of them is to phase out fossil fuels in favor of cleaner energy. What is clean energy? How does sustainability come from it? Solar panel installation is a fine example of energy sustainability today, and commercial solar companies are hard at work to make this a reality.

Power Needs

There is a huge appetite for energy and electricity in the United States and beyond. Today, coal power plants are still the primary source of power for cities and neighborhoods, but more and more, individual households and companies are aiming to change that. Solar power is becoming more efficient all the time, and costs have gone down quite a bit in the last few years. This has allowed solar power to become viable as a standard energy source where it was once just a novelty. How much power are these panels putting out right now? Some 1.3 million solar installations can be found across the United States, and all together, they generate around 40 gigawatts. This is no small number. After all, the Solar Energy Industries Association has estimated that just one megawatt of electricity can power 164 homes. This means that 40 gigawatts can power an impressive 6,560,000 American households.

Is there enough sunlight, as in solar energy, to power a majority of American homes and businesses one day? The answer is, simply, yes. The good news is that in fact, the sun strikes planet Earth with many times more power than the global population even needs. For all intents and purposes, solar energy is infinite and impossible to exhaust, so its sustainability rating is extremely high. How much sustainability is there for solar energy? Consider this: every day, a staggering 120,000 terawatts of solar power strikes the Earth. That is 10,000 times more than what flows through the world’s entire industrial civilization at any given time. It is safe to say that indeed, solar power has enormous sustainability. It is as close to free power as today’s engineers know how to get.

Install the Panels

Even though fossil fuel plants are still a major part of today’s energy production, solar panel crews are working hard to catch up. Sometimes, these panels are installed on an industrial scale, on solar panel arrays. This describes when hundreds or even thousands of such panels are arranged in one sunny area to gather massive amounts of power. These arrays can be used to power entire neighborhoods or city blocks at a time, and they are often installed in sunny areas such as deserts. The American southwest, in states such as New Mexico or Arizona, often prove popular for this. There is very little cloud cover in such areas to interfere with solar panels, maximizing their efficiency.

Solar panels can also be installed in a smaller scale. Individual homeowners may opt to have solar panels installed on their roofs to supply all of their power. This means getting inspections and approval from engineers and city officials both before and after the panels are actually installed, and this process is not quick. But once these panels are in place, they make the house independent of the local power grid, and a home may even generate an excess of power. In such a case, the home can send this money to the local power plant for a modest profit. Such panels are currently the exception, and most American homes are still connected to traditional power grids. But this may change in the coming years, and many American cities and towns are launching solar panel projects to become more energy-efficient on their own initiative.

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