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Solar Power vs. Fossil Fuels: How Do They Compare in 2022?

street lights powered by solar energy

The world is currently facing serious issues regarding climate change. So, any way that we can reduce our environmental footprint is good. One of the best ways to do that is by using solar power instead of fossil fuels. If you are thinking about moving to solar power but want to know how it compares to fossil fuels, keep reading as we look at the pros and cons of each.

solar power dividerOverview of Solar Power

Cost

According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the cost of electricity generated by solar power costs between 3 cents and 6 cents per kilowatt-hour, so it is less expensive than fossil fuels. Solar energy also produces no emissions, so using it does not harm the environment or the plants and animals that live in it.

solar power system installed on the roof
Image Credit: ulleo, Pixabay

Integration and Use

Solar power is just now becoming a viable alternative to fossil fuel. Only a few years ago, the cells were much less efficient, so you needed more of them to produce usable power. Modern solar cells can be much smaller, but it might still be several years before they get popular enough to see them regularly. One huge advantage of solar cells is that you can install them on your roof, which is space that most people do not use, so they have an extremely small footprint.

Pros
  • Good for the environment
  • Renewable
  • Less expensive than fossil fuels
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Still-growing technology

Overview of Fossil Fuels

fossil fuel power station
Image Credit: Christian Mueller, Shutterstock

Cost

According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, electricity generated from fossil fuels like oil, natural gas, and coal ranges from 5 cents to 17 cents per kilowatt-hour, making it about twice as expensive as solar options. Using these fuels also produces a significant amount of exhaust that can affect the environment nearby. Damage caused to health or the environment is the cost of using fossil fuels.

Integration and Use

Fossil fuels are easier to use because they are easier to find and purchase. Most equipment uses these fuels, and they often work better and deliver more power than their environmentally friendly counterparts. There are several gas stations in every town where you can fill up your gas tank in a few minutes, but it can be challenging to find a charging station, and it takes longer for a battery to reach full charge.

Pros
  • Easy to find
  • Low cost
  • Time tested
Cons
  • Destroys the environment
  • Creates geopolitical tensions
  • Not renewable

Environmental Impact

Solar power has little environmental impact compared to fossil fuels. The exhaust created by burning these fuels can significantly affect the environment. Also, fossil fuels require mining, digging, refining, transportation, storage, etc. Our dependence on fossil fuels is also a source of geopolitical conflict, further impacting the environment. Solar energy uses far fewer resources and does much less damage.

house powered by solar energy
Image Credit: Robert Kneschke, Shutterstock

When to Use Which

While most people have no choice but to use fossil fuels, there is hope for the future, as the cost of solar cells is coming down, and many more people are installing solar panels. Many electric companies are even offering to purchase any extra electricity that you create, adding an incentive to switch to solar power. The push toward electric cars will also lead to the construction of more power stations, which will encourage more manufacturers to make electric equipment, opening up a stronger market for solar power.

solar power dividerConclusion

Solar power is becoming more popular every day, and quite a few people use it to reduce their electricity costs and help improve the environment. Unfortunately, solar panels are still quite expensive, and you need many of them to create enough power to cut ties with your electric company, so it will likely be many years before you see a solar cell in every yard. However, the worsening environment and rising fossil fuel costs are causing many people to consider alternatives like solar power.


Featured Image Credit: PxHere

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