Blog > How is solar a solution to climate change?
May 30, 2023 by VCT Group
Climate change and global warming are the most pressing challenges of our time, with far reaching implications for the environment and human well-being. In response to this, solar power has emerged as a potent and sustainable solution to reduce greenhouse gases. Solar energy is one of the renewable energy sources that provide a multitude of benefits, ranging from reducing carbon emissions, to fostering energy independence, and creating jobs. Let us explore how solar energy plays a crucial role in mitigating climate change by reducing our carbon footprint while simultaneously forging a path towards a better and sustainable future.
The sun’s energy is constantly replenished, which means that solar energy is an inexhaustible source of clean and renewable power. As opposed to fossil fuels which release harmful gasses such as carbon dioxide during energy production, the generation of solar power doesn’t lead to any drastic environmental impacts as it releases minimal pollutants. By utilizing photovoltaic technology in the form of solar panels sunlight can be converted into electricity in an effective and efficient way. This reduces our dependence on fossil fuels, further helping us lower greenhouse gas emissions. Once solar energy gets adopted on a larger scale it has the potential to reduce global carbon emissions, which is the primary driver of climate change.
Using solar energy to generate electricity provides a path for countries to have greater energy independence and security. Nations can protect themselves from price fluctuations – and geopolitical tension – by expanding and diversifying their energy sources to reduce their reliance on imported fossil fuels. Installing solar panels on commercial and residential buildings, as well as remote/unused land, enables decentralized energy generation and helps reduce the heavy reliance on electric grid. This distributed energy model positively impacts communities and economies worldwide by prioritizing resilience over disruption, balancing energy consumption, and enhancing access to electricity in isolated areas.
Burning fossil fuels for electricity generation, industrial processes and transportation contributes primarily to greenhouse gas emissions. Adoption of solar energy can play a transformative role in the attenuation of these emissions. Research conducted by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) states “About 125 GW of new solar PV capacity was added in 2020, the largest capacity addition of any renewable energy source.” In addition to this, “The global renewable energy share can reach and exceed 30% by 2030.” (IRENA) This reflects the fact that by increasing the global share of solar energy, we can increase the overall share of renewable energy in the global mix, resulting in a massive decrease in greenhouse gas emissions.
The solar energy sector has the potential to drive economic growth and create employment opportunities. As the industry expands a wide range of jobs will be created through solar development – from manufacturing and installation, to maintenance and research. According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), in 2021 almost 4.3 million people worldwide were employed in the solar sector alone. Investing in solar energy infrastructure or solar projects can drive innovation, encourage local entrepreneurship, and contribute to a sustainable and inclusive economy.
Advances in photovoltaic technology have made solar power increasingly affordable and efficient. Over the years the cost of solar panels has dropped significantly, making solar energy more accessible to homes, businesses, and governments. “Solar Module prices fell by up to 93% between 2010 and 2020.” (IRENA) In addition, research and development efforts are continuing to improve the efficiency and storage capacity of solar power systems. Integrating solar energy with energy storage technologies, such as batteries, enables reliable power supply even during periods of low solar irradiation. These advances in renewable energy technologies are paving the way for an economically and environmentally sustainable clean energy future.
Climate change is disproportionately impacting vulnerable communities and exacerbating existing social inequalities. Solar energy – especially in the form of solar farms – offers an opportunity to address climate injustice by providing clean, affordable energy to underserved populations. Off-grid solar power solutions can power remote homes, schools and health centers, improving quality of life and enabling economic development. Harnessing solar energy ensures a just and inclusive transition to a sustainable future, ensuring that no one is left behind.
Solar power is an optimal and compelling solution to the problem of climate change. Along with being a clean and renewable energy source, solar power fosters energy independence, job creation, and economic opportunities – all while addressing climate injustice. It is time we harness the power of the sun to contribute to the well-being of our planet and its inhabitants.
The time for solar is now.