You have read the literature and heard the scientists expounding extensively on the impact of climate change and why making significant change is imperative. These admonishments have struck a chord in many and convinced people to make changes. Therefore, one of the first avenues you will explore as you endeavour to lower your carbon footprint is your energy use. Specifically, it would be best to prepare yourself for this change by determining which renewable energy source is the best option.
There are numerous renewables today, ranging from wind to solar and hydrogen power. Of the three, solar energy is the most popular, with over 3 million Australian households opting for solar panel installations. However, before making your final choice, it does not hurt to do your due diligence by comparing all the available renewables before determining the most superior selection.
Therefore, this guide provides insight into how solar power compares to other renewables. So, read on to understand how solar energy holds up against other energy sources available today.
What Are Your Renewable Power Options?
Wind energy is a viable and sustainable renewable energy source that can benefit your home and the national grid. However, its viability has some caveats.
The first is your location. To determine whether using wind energy for your home is viable, you must first determine how much wind your area gets. In addition, you also have to evaluate what paybacks you can expect once the system is operational.
While wind energy presents numerous benefits like free energy, low operation costs and low emissions, it has one primary disadvantage; the wind is unpredictable. This attribute makes wind power outputs less consistent- a factor that significantly affects how well you run your home.
Therefore, when comparing wind to solar energy, remember that while wind power is viable for domestic use, its supply heavily depends on your location and the prevailing weather patterns. On the other hand, solar energy systems provide a more stable energy source and thus are more feasible for home connections.
Hydro energy is often used with other renewables to maximise production, although it is also an adequate solution when you use it on its own. Moreover, hydropower emits limited amounts of greenhouse gases and causes no pollution.
While hydro energy is an ideal energy source, one crucial element limits its use- local hydrology. To establish an operational hydro energy plant, you need a river. In addition, you must also make sure to have an alternative power source to cover periods when the river volume decreases or dries up.
Comparing the stipulations for effective hydro energy use to solar energy thus presents significant differences that give solar power a distinct advantage. Solar power is more versatile than hydro since it doesn’t require a water source- making solar more accessible. Additionally, solar energy allows you to maintain consistent power production even during drought.
Tidal energy differs from hydro energy as its source is the ocean. Hence, it is a very reliable energy source with no carbon emissions while avoiding the pitfalls of the effects of drought.
On the other hand, tidal energy use is limited by location. Therefore, you cannot take advantage of this energy source if you don’t live in a coastal area. Conversely, solar energy is not site restricted; thus, you can install a solar panel system regardless of your home’s location.
Biomass energy is highly beneficial in helping to reduce landfill waste while providing a reliable renewable energy source. However, the main pitfall with biomass energy production is the need for vast spaces. Constructing a biomass energy site requires extensive water usage for plant growth while presenting the potential for deforestation to accommodate them. Therefore, the environmental impact may not be worth it.
Other Energy Sources
Other energy sources like hydrogen and geothermal power present significant logistical challenges. For example, geothermal power requires the confluence of geothermal volcanic elements to facilitate production, thus rendering it unscalable.
In conclusion, using solar energy to power your home presents numerous advantages. For example, you avail yourself of a consistent renewable energy source, get a reliable alternative regardless of your location and production levels, and take advantage of a stable power source to enjoy free, clean energy.