How Is Solar Power Reshaping the Energy Industry?
In recent years, there has been a huge amount of investment in renewable power in Australia. Both wind farms and solar make up the bulk of the renewables market but the transition away from coal-fired power also includes some backup from natural gas sources to ease the transition.
South Australia is the leader in this sector and the state generates more electrical power from renewable sources — both wind and solar — than any other state in Australia. Indeed, South Australia is second only to Denmark on the world stage in terms of total renewable power generation.
What Is Solar Energy?
In the simplest terms, solar energy is electrical energy that has been converted from sunlight. When sunlight shines onto a solar panel, it is collected and then converted into electrical energy. There are a variety of methods of collecting this radiant energy, including focusing mirrors, but the source is always the sun.
Why Is it Important?
The greenhouse gases in our atmosphere are storing more heat energy and reflecting it back to earth and sea. This process is called the greenhouse effect and is a natural system that allows the flourishing of all life. The problem is that too many greenhouse gases in the atmosphere will cause too much warming; this in turn leads to climate changes on a global scale, including a rise in average temperatures and extreme weather events.
We know that climate change is being driven largely through human activity. Even though our planet has warmed in the past, we know that it is currently warming 20 times faster than at any time in the last million years. Sophisticated climate modelling that includes human activity, such as the carbon dioxide produced by coal-fired power, matches with the climate data gathered and tells us in no uncertain terms that the current global warming event is being driven by human activity.
Solar power is a clean source of electrical energy. It uses sunlight to generate electrical power. There is no carbon dioxide produced and the energy is renewable in the sense that the sun is effectively not a finite resource such as coal or gas. This means that it is not dirty power. It does not add to the current accumulation of greenhouse gases.
Companies such as Sunbank Solar are helping people to install solar panels and solar batteries in their homes. By driving the take-up of solar, more clean energy is being redirected into the energy grid and this is transforming our energy mix. Less power is being drawn from coal-fired power stations and less carbon is being released into the atmosphere.
What Is the Future of Solar?
As we invest in more and more renewable energy, including solar power, we add fewer and fewer greenhouse gases into the atmosphere because we rely less on fossil-fuelled electrical power. This transformation is critical to our future and the future of all life on the planet. In this context, the future of solar energy is not just bright but absolutely essential to everyone and everything.