Humanity has always needed a source of power for its endeavors, ranging from animal-drawn carriages and plows in times past to steam-powered turbines in the 19th century to more advanced forms of power generation today. Most often, electricity in the developed world such as the United States is derived from fossil fuel-powered power plants, but these plants have come under heavy scrutiny due to their tendency to heavily pollute the biosphere during their operation, and coal and oil have faced criticism recently due to how much these fossil fuels pollute the natural world and human cities alike. Fossil fuel from power plants, cars, and more contribute to smog in cities around the world, most often in the United States, India, and China, and the worldwide “go green” initiative calls for a rapid reduction in fossil fuel use and replacing them with renewable, clean power sources instead. Solar energy is one such solution, alongside wind farms and geothermal power. Residential solar energy is a reality even today, with commercial solar panel installation being done in American homes from coast to coast. Commercial solar panel installation can be done on a small scale, to power a single home with its dedicated solar panel installation, but commercial solar panel installation can be done for larger buildings too, and commercial solar panel installation can even be done on an industrial scale. Solar companies can install a few panels on a house or build an array of thousands of such panels to power entire city blocks or towns at a time, no fossil fuels needed.
As mentioned earlier, fossil fuel plants are a standard source of electricity in the United States and abroad today, but if they are to be systematically shut down to curb emissions, something must replace them. Commercial solar panel installation is the answer, and over the last two decades, solar panel technology has made rapid advances in technology and these panels become more price-friendly to install and build than ever before. There is plenty of electricity need for these panels to provide; cities and towns need many megawatts and gigawatts of power to run. Is there enough sunlight to provide that power?
More and more every year, the answer is “yes.” Solar energy has rapidly grown across the developed world, and even in relatively undeveloped areas such as sub-Saharan Africa, many solar panels and wind farms are being built to power local communities, and some African communities are getting electricity for the first time through this effort. There is no shortage of sunlight; while coal seams dry up, the sun is bound to shine for a few more billion years, and in today’s considerations, that’s effectively indefinite. And the sun is powerful; every single day, even though only a tiny fraction of the sun’s energy output hits planet Earth, 120,000 terawatts of power flows from the sun to the Earth, which is 10,000 times more power than what flows through all of industrialized civilization. In effect, solar power can power the entire planet many times over, and will never run out. How can this enormous energy source be tapped?
Solar panels have the flexibility of being built on any scale needed, since they are units that can be linked up in any number based on local power needs. A homeowner, for example, may choose to go independent from the power grid and have solar panel contractors install a few such panels on braces on their roof. Once this is all set, these panels power the entire home, and excess energy is sent to local power plants. Commercial buildings such as skyscrapers and others can make use of their roof space and install larger arrays of solar panels, and on the biggest scale, entire solar farms can be built out in remote areas, where hundreds or even thousands of such panels will be in place, collecting solar power for nearby power grids. This is often done in sunny areas such as Texas and the Southwest in the United Stats, or deserts around the world where sunlight is strong and rarely interrupted by cloud cover.