The United States is currently utilizing more renewable energy than at any other point in history. This is largely to do with the growing popularity of renewable resources such as wind and solar power. Many know that these energy sources are renewable but don’t fully understand what makes them renewable. Given that it’s most accessible at the residential level, solar is perhaps most common to the average consumer. So, let’s take a look at why solar energy is considered renewable and answer a few other common questions about the common renewable resource.
- What Defines A Renewable Fuel?
- Is Solar A Renewable Power Source?
- Can You Run Your Home On Solar And Does It Save You Money?
What Defines A Renewable Fuel?
A renewable fuel is a fuel that is both naturally occurring ad unlimited. Examples of this would be wind and sunlight. Wind is used to turn a wind turbine while sunlight is converted into electricity through the use of solar panels. While some petroleum products do naturally occur deep down in the earth, they are not considered renewable because they take millions of years to make. This means that we use them far faster than they are naturally created. With wind and solar, there is always more wind and there will always be more sunlight.
Is Solar A Renewable Power Source?
Solar energy is a renewable power source. Because the fuel required to generate electricity from a solar panel is free and unlimited, it is fully renewable. This means that running any device, whether it be your refrigerator or an electric vehicle, on solar power is much cleaner and environmentally friendly as opposed to the electricity provided to you by your local utility. This is because the electricity from your utility is a mix of many different fuel sources which includes electricity from coal and natural gas fired power plants.
Can You Run Your Home On Solar And Does It Save You Money?
Homes can be run exclusively on solar power. This is done by properly sizing a solar array to meet your annual demand. Typically, if you want to always run your home on solar, you need to size your solar system to meet the needs of your home during the time of year when the home receives the least amount of sunlight. For many in North America, this falls during the winter. If your home can run exclusively on solar during the winter, then it can power your home year round. Because solar energy allows you to pull less electricity from the grid, your energy bills will be lower every month. Eventually, due to lower energy bills, the solar system will actually pay for itself saving you thousands of dollars over its lifetime.
Projection show that renewable energy resources, such as wind and solar, will continue to account for a bigger and bigger portion of total energy usage in the United States well into the future. By better understanding why solar power is considered renewable, you can be a much more informed consumer when making energy related decisions for your household.