The energy policy of different nations depends on their geographical locations and the availability of natural and financial resources. However, since the last two decades there is an increasing consciousness of the depletion of fossil fuel reserves and the corresponding impact on the cost of energy.
This has left the age old solar and wind power as the only viable alternate to our pressing energy needs. This is possibly the only sustainable solution as energy from the sun is abundant in most parts of the world and totally free of any kind of environmental pollution.
And yet, with all the enthusiasm around, solar energy on a larger scale, may fail to provide the answers most people seek at the present time. In the United States, it is true that the cost of photovoltaic cells (a component to generate solar energy) is on the decline and some industrial houses and government agencies claim that the cost of solar energy will attain parity with conventional energy by 2015. While there is no denying that in due course of time many breakthroughs in the field of solar energy are inevitable, at least in today's context, this is not only ambitious but too far fetched.
In the first place, to harness solar power the part of the country you are located in is of primary importance. Whereas, the sun shines only during the day hours, the intensity of the sun rays as they cut uninterruptedly through the vast tracts of the atmosphere is of vital importance. Conversely, the less the power of the sun, the lesser the energy you can generate. This is the reason why California and Arizona, the two states with plenty of sunshine, have several operational solar energy power plants. Here, the heat from the sun converts a fluid into steam which turns the generators to produce electric power.
In 2010-11 the US government gave in excess of $950 million as subsidy in response to an overwhelming appeal from people in support of solar energy programs. Yet, the cost of energy continued to soar high as never before. As for the future expectations of solar power, the reputed research firm, Clean Edge, states that it is only likely in 2025 that 10% of the nation's total energy consumption will come from solar power systems.
For those wealthy home owners who would like to act now, there are contractors waiting in the wings. There are professionally built solar systems ready for immediate installation. You don't even need to know how they work. All you are required to do is pay for them, which at $20000-$25000, may be a testing experience.
For others there is the choice of ensuring a satisfactory insulation of the house and avoiding wasteful practices. Let energy saved be money earned. Switching off unnecessary lights and judicious control of thermostats for heating and cooling can do wonders. For generations, Americans are known to be the biggest wasters of energy. The time to redeem yourself is now.
If you choose to heat or light up your garage or buy a new gadget, you will find there is enough sunlight available to make a simple solar panel or two at home. It's very simple really and if you add the cost ($100-$120) to the price of your new purchase, you will soon see both pay for themselves. And once you start off as a DIY handyman you will be amazed how your little feats at home can save more money than you ever hoped for.
Are you aware that computers in the USA account for 13% of the total energy consumed and your own water heater at home is a 'white elephant' that consumes more than half of what you pay for your energy? Well, this is the time to sit up and take notice.
Remember, because of its current cost and unproven reliability, solar energy is not likely to play a major part in the overall mix of our energy consumption for the time being. Yet, it is upto us to make full use of it... whenever the need arises.
R.P.Bhalla is a retired airline captain and an expert on Finance, Social Affairs and Health and Wellness. He writes exclusively on Family, Health and Money matters. http://moneysavingenergy.net
Article Source: The Myth Of The Solar Power Systems