How Is Using Solar Energy Beneficial?
Renewable energy generation is a long-term commitment to environmental stewardship. One of the most popular sources of renewable energy is solar. Solar energy uses the sun’s energy to power our homes, businesses and communities. By installing solar panels or using community solar farms, anyone can have access to this beneficial and sustainable resource.
But when we talk about solar energy being a renewable resource, what do we really mean? What kind of an impact does solar power have on our communities and our environment? Let’s break it down.
What is solar energy?
At its very simplest, solar energy is the transfer of energy from the sun’s photon-emitting rays to a usable form of power. Photons are responsible for the light and heat we receive from the sun. When they hit the surface of photovoltaic (PV) cells in solar panels, the technology transforms them into electricity that we can use.
What are the benefits of using solar power?
By using a renewable resource – the sun – we’re choosing an endless amount of potential energy. When we produce power from resources found in the earth, we know that these are finite resources that require more time and energy to obtain.
Solar energy produces no greenhouse gas emissions or air pollution and requires little to no water to generate. The conversion process has no moving parts for generation and the panels require little maintenance. Panels work during a drought or heat wave, can be used on rooftops for personal or business use, and can be used in solar farms for utility-scale energy.
How does solar energy benefit our community?
Solar energy is not exclusive – anyone can use it. The option to use solar panels is available to all who are interested in taking a more environmentally focused approach to energy generation. With multiple options available, we increase the opportunity to utilize a larger amount of renewable energy in our neighborhoods and communities.
Plus, when a solar panel system is connected to the grid, any overproduction in power can be rerouted to others and customers who produce more solar than they use will get money back on their bills. When we help produce power for the whole, the overall cost of providing power can decrease because of higher energy supply.
Solar panels can also be implemented at wastewater plants to power the water treatment process. It reduces costs and increases self-reliance for a resource that provides a necessary service for the community. The City of Myrtle Beach, for example, has installed 10 solar-powered circulators in its 50-acre wastewater lagoon since 2005. Electrical savings are expected to average $100,000 per year.
What is Santee Cooper doing to provide more solar energy?
In 2018, South Carolina’s renewable energy resources accounted for about 6% of the state’s net electricity generation. Now, Santee Cooper is proposing to add up to 1,500 MW of new solar power by 2031 to its renewable energy production. That’s enough to power about 750,000 homes! This is planned to replace some existing coal-fired generation and increase solar generation by 800%.
Using a renewable energy source like solar power to provide electricity to your home is one of many ways we can harness naturally occurring energy to cleanly and efficiently power our lives. While choosing an environmentally friendly way to provide a basic utility, it is equally important to be informed on the right amount of solar energy for your house – more panels is not always the best way.
Santee Cooper has opportunities for you to start using solar panels at your home or business, as well as resources to help keep you educated on the new technology. And if you have a shaded roof, don’t want panels on your home or are in a townhouse or condo, you can still get the benefits of solar power though Santee Cooper’s Solar Share program. Our experts can help you determine your home’s most efficient energy capacity. Speak to one of our solar experts who can assess your situation and help you find the amount of solar energy that works best for you.
Learn more at SanteeCooperSolar.com.