The sun is vital in helping to support life on earth. It continuously releases solar radiation, some of which will eventually reach the earth. We make use of this solar energy in a number of different ways. It helps to support life, can generate electricity and can even heat our water.
This article provides eight reasons why solar energy is important. Together, they explain how the sun has become one of the most important natural energy sources available to our planet.
1. Solar Energy Is Good For The Environment
When we use the sun as an alternative energy source, it can be great for the environment. Unlike fossil fuels, solar energy does not produce any carbon emissions. This is a key factor that makes it far more environmentally friendly than traditional energy sources.
Fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and, natural gas are responsible for polluting our planet. When we burn them, they release vast quantities of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere which include the following:
- Carbon Dioxide
- Nitrous Oxide
Greenhouse gases pollute the air we breathe and also contribute to what’s known as the greenhouse effect – a phenomenon that contributes towards climate change. Using the sun as an alternative to fossil fuels avoids the release of these gases. Therefore, it is much better for the environment and can help to reduce the effects of climate change.
2. The Sun Is Renewable
The sun will burn for as long as the earth can support life. Therefore, we can consider it to be a renewable energy source. This means it will never run out and we can continue to use it day after day.
Renewable sources such as solar, wind, and geothermal energy are all key in helping to reduce our dependency on non-renewable alternatives. At some point in the future, we will run out of coal, oil, and gas. The upside to this is that we can always depend on solar energy.
3. Solar Power Can Improve Energy Security
We use the term energy security to refer to a nation’s ability to control its supply of energy. Most countries have to buy at least some of the energy that they require. Where a country relies heavily on external supplies of such energy sources, they have low energy security.
Energy security is important because it plays a key role in helping to support the economy of a country. Where a country has a good level of energy security, it is less vulnerable to external issues that may increase the price of energy commodities. War and conflict are often responsible for driving up the cost of external energy supplies which can damage a country’s economy.
By using more solar energy, a country can help to increase its energy security. Countries such as China and India have been very successful in the large-scale rollout of solar power. Many countries across Europe have also seen a large increase in the number of homeowners generating their own solar power.
4. The Solar Energy Industry Creates Jobs
In 2018, the solar photovoltaics industry was responsible for supporting over 3.6 million jobs globally. This data is taken from a 2019 report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) into renewable energy jobs.
Around 31% of these jobs are based in China, followed by Japan at 7%, Germany at 5%, and the United States at 4%. The fact that the solar energy industry is helping to support such a large number of jobs all over the world is important from an economics point of view.
5. Solar Energy Has Different Uses
Up to this point, we have mostly discussed how we can use solar panels to generate power. We can, however, use solar energy for another purpose than electricity generation.
Solar thermal is a type of energy technology that allows us to use the sun for heating water. This means that solar energy isn’t just limited to generating power. Some homeowners have successfully installed both solar panels and solar thermal collectors in order to boost the benefits they receive from using energy from the sun.
6. It Can Reduce Your Energy Bills
Solar energy has the potential to reduce or even eliminate your energy bills. This is the key reason why many homeowners have opted to install solar energy systems. Whether you are using the sun for power generation or for heating water, it can significantly reduce how much you pay to your utility company.
This is one of the key benefits of solar and has transformed the lives of many people all over the world.
7. Solar Technology Offers a Return on Investment
Linked with the importance of solar energy reducing your utility bills is the fact it can also offer a return on investment. It’s no good reducing your bills if the initial cost of the technology is more than you would pay for those bills over the long term.
Luckily, both solar electricity and solar hot water systems are capable of offering a return on investment (ROI) over their lifetime. This does require adequate research and a suitable climate, but ROI is easily achieved in many parts of the world. Always consult a reputable installer about this before investing in such systems.
8. The Sun Has Many Other Natural Benefits
Last in our list is the natural benefits the sun has on our planet. We often overlook this aspect, but the importance of solar energy on the earth is a vital area we should consider.
The sun supports life on earth in many different ways. It helps to grow our crops in order to provide food, supports the habitats of many living creatures and also provides light and warmth, helping us to see and stay warm.
To sum up, solar energy is essential in helping to support life on earth.