For most of history, fossil fuels have been our primary source of energy. Without fossil fuels, we would still be stuck in the dark ages, clueless as to where we put our glasses. Recent history shows us, however, that renewable energy sources like that of solar may become the way of the future. With limited supply of coal, oil and gas, we can see the allure of solar energy as it offers many solutions to today’s pressing problems. As these two energy sources are beginning to collide in our modern day society, many home and business owners now have the power to choose which energy source they prefer. In order to break down this highly discussed paradigm, we have created a side-by-side comparison on solar energy versus fossil fuels.
At CRJ Contactors, we are your number one source for everything related to solar energy. We proudly serve Colorado Springs by helping potential investors of solar find the best energy source that is right for them. With big decisions and debates, much like the one at hand, you can feel confident that we are your go-to solar experts within the Pikes Peak region. Let’s dive into the key differences between solar and fossil fuel energy sources.
Supply and Demand
Supply and demand will ultimately determine the cost of any commodity. Seeing how solar energy is a renewable energy source, we can count on its infinite supply. That is, as long as the sun burns hot in our sky, we’ll find newer and better ways to capture it in the form of solar energy. Fossil fuels, on the other hand, are a non-renewable energy source, which means we will exhaust its supply one day. According to Oxford’s Global Change Data Lab, this day could be in as little as 50 – 100 years. Therefore, the infinite supply of the sun’s energy makes a convincing case to go solar, especially with concerns over the scarcity of oil and gas.
Over the past thirty years, we’ve seen major drops in solar prices. In 1977, it cost nearly $78 dollars per watt. As of October of 2019, it costs only about $.21 per watt. The trend continues to show that as technology advances, solar costs will decrease over time. Conversely, we can expect fossil fuels to become more expensive as its supply runs low. In effort of governmental programs to become more eco-friendly, new policies will also potentially raise the cost to receive electricity from power plants. Simply put, the cost of solar is projected to decrease while the cost of fossil fuels are projected to increase in the coming decades.
Solar has another advantage: it doesn’t harm the environment. Solar panels convert the sun’s energy into electricity through silicon cells. It, therefore, doesn’t produce any pollutants or co2 harmful to the environment. Roof installations of solar panels have very little negative impact on the environment as well. On the contrary, fossil fuels create about 93% of man-made co2 emissions. Our current environment has introduced many health conditions for those living in particularly air-polluted cities. Therefore, in order to reduce our carbon footprint on future generations, switching to solar is doing both ourselves and our environment a huge favor.
Similar to how costs have declined over the last thirty years, we’ve also seen a huge boost in solar efficiency. Today’s solar panels can produce up to 21% efficiency, which is a massive improvement from 1% efficiency when the first solar cell was invented. Conversely, fossil fuels are able to power up to 33-40% efficiency, which is definitely better than solar energy right now. But when you think of it like this — that means 60% of the non-renewable energy sources being used are wasted –and worse– they are harming our environment in the process. This doesn’t paint a pretty picture for fossil fuels, but it does put solar in a positive light. Plus, we’re optimistic that solar panels will reach 40% efficiency one day given current trends in solar technology.
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In the coming years, as we exhaust our supply of fossil fuels like coal, gas, and oil — we may face the risk of gas and oil prices spiking. As of now, the U.S. is the number one country responsible for greenhouse gases, given our sizable population and heavy reliance on cars. Right now we are dependent on fossil fuels to some extent; however, we truly believe that one day we will see a day when we are 100% dependent on renewable sources of energy.
As lovers of science at CRJ Contractors, we are your number one stop for all things related to solar energy. If you have any questions about solar panels, from installation to money you can save, or about the differences between fossil fuels and solar energy, contact us today! We would love to hear from you.