America's Energy Renaissance Is Happening NOW
Posted in General Articles by Solar Energy USA
America is in the midst of an energy renaissance thanks to decreasing costs of solar power systems, improving solar efficiencies and related technologies (including energy storage), and an abundance of natural gas reserves.
But, like any other early development, what happens in the beginning will set the stage for outcomes later down the road.
Producing oil domestically is certainly better than importing it from foreign sources. But it should be noted that every choice has an opportunity cost, and some forms of energy are more desirable than others.
America’s Energy Sources
You might be surprised to learn that all forms of energy are subsidized by government incentives, even those which have been around for hundreds of years. In fact, from 1918 to 2009, the oil and gas industry, which includes natural gas, received more government assistance than nuclear, biofuels, and renewable energy all combined.
The chart above illustrates the annual average of U.S. government subsidies to various energy sectors. As you can see, the oil and gas industry has consistently received more support than other types of energy since the beginning of the 1900s.
The shale gas (fracking) revolution started back in 2004 when a new method of extracting natural gas was discovered. Since then, prices of natural gas have fallen due to a high level of drilling which has increased natural gas reserves. Natural gas is fast becoming the largest source of America’s electricity generation.
But, these unconventional methods of producing energy have a higher cost than conventional methods. Drilling straight down versus drilling sideways (fracking) not only costs more to do, but uses a large amount of something very valuable to us all: water.
According to Chesapeake Energy, an initial drilling operation itself may consume from 6,000 to 600,000 US gallons of fracking fluids, including water. And over its lifetime an average well may require up to an additional 5 million gallons of water for full operation. Wowzers!
There’s gotta be a better source of energy, right?
The Solar Power Revolution
You can be a part of the solar power revolution and help America transition to a clean energy economy!
- The U.S. solar industry grew by 53% from 2012 to 2013 making it one of the fastest growing sectors in the U.S. economy. The industry installed 5.2 GW of solar electric (PV and CPV) capacity in 2013.
- There is enough solar energy installed in the U.S. to power more than 3 million households!
- In 2013, a new solar energy project was installed in the U.S. every 4 minutes!
- Solar power generation in America now totals more than 15 gigawatts (GW), enough to power more than 3 million homes!
- 143,000 Americans are currently working in the U.S. solar industry (more than coal mining or steel & iron manufacturing). Solar businesses added 6,735 new workers in all 50 states since August 2010, which represents a 6.8 percent growth rate.
- During the same 12-month period, jobs in the overall economy grew by a mere 0.7 percent, while fossil fuel electric generation lost 2 percent of its workforce.
- Over the last 20 years the cost of solar energy systems has come down seven fold!
- More than 16.8 million metric tons of CO2 are reduced each year thanks to installed solar power. This is the same as taking 3.5 million vehicles off the road or 1.9 billion gallons of gasoline not used!
- You can power your entire home with a solar panel installation! We have hundreds of residential solar case studies that prove the technology is both viable and affordable!
Powered By 100% Solar
For example, the Brown family of Cumming, GA installed a 22 panel system which offsets 100% of their monthly power bill! The photovoltaic home solar panel array was installed in October of 2011. The system was designed to offset approximately 77% of the annual home power bill with an average savings of around $200 dollars per month over the 40 year expected life of the system. In November of 2011 the Browns paid for just 106 kWh, and in many months since they have received a credit on excess power production including an $8 dollar credit on their May 2012 power bill. They recently purchased a Nissan Leaf – a 100% electric car – and now no longer pay for gasoline thanks to recharging their Leaf with solar power produced from the roof of their home.
The Browns are not alone in their choice to ‘kick gas’ and choose renewable energy sources. Just today an article was posted on Yahoo discussing how there is a trend in powering both homes and electric cars with solar energy. Advocates say the investment pays off over time and is worth it for the thrill of fossil fuel-free driving. ”We think it was one of the best things in the world to do,” says Kevin Tofel, who bought a Chevrolet Volt in 2012 to soak up the excess power from his home solar-energy system. “We will never go back to an all-gas car.”
Here’s Atlanta’s own Clark Howard – financial super adviser – on driving an all-electric Nissan Leaf:
America’s Energy Renaissance Is Happening NOW – Don’t You Want To Be A Part?
Solar Energy USA is proud to be one of the largest solar installers in the Southeast, with offices in Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. Click here to contact one of our national locations to request information about adding solar energy to your home or business.