Sunday, April 14, 2024

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Solar Energy Could Supply 40% of the United States Energy By 2035

In the latest Department of Energy report, a study shows that the United States could get 40% of its total energy from solar. Not only this, but doing so could create upwards of 1.5 million new jobs. And the average electricity bill will not rise.

Solar energy remains the cheapest and fastest-growing renewable energy source. In just the last decade, the average price of solar energy has dropped by 70%, and that trend is likely to continue as the technology becomes more mainstream.

However, there is a lot of work to be done to achieve this as solar currently only accounts for 3% of the total energy generation in the US.

2020 Was the Best Year for Solar Energy Growth

Despite the ongoing pandemic, solar adoption saw considerable growth in 2020. In fact, it was the best in US history.

Over the year, new solar installations grew by 42%. This resulted in 19.2 gigawatts of new energy for the electric grid. In particular, California, Florida, and Texas saw the most solar installations.

A giant factor in this was the increasing interest in home improvement. Many people that were stuck home for the year took it as an opportunity to renovate their homes with DIY projects, and solar benefitted tremendously from this.

This is likely to continue through 2021.

New Policies Can Accelerate This Process

For this technology to continue to grow at the same breakneck pace, it is going to need policies that encourage higher rates of adoption.

One of the most obvious choices is to incentivize solar adoption with tax credits. What this means is that businesses or families that install solar panels on their property will be eligible to receive a tax credit at the end of the year.

This can help alleviate the costs associated with installing solar panels. While technology has gotten cheaper, it is still far more than the average family has saved up.

Another policy change that can have a huge impact on the industry is a carbon tax.

This would incentivize utilities to switch from fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy. And solar energy would be in a terrific position. It is cheap, easy to set up, and gets results.

Companies would also be more inclined to speed up the adoption of renewable energy. What policies the current administration intends remains to be seen, but the intention is clear.

The Health Cost Savings Range From $1.1 to $1.7 Trillion

One of the other benefits the report looks at is how transitioning away from fossil fuels will affect health care. Or more specifically, how much it can save.

It’s widely known that more than just greenhouse gasses are released from burning fossil fuels. These directly affect the air quality and that even improving slightly can save millions of lives.

The report found that savings of $1.1 trillion to $1.7 trillion in health costs. This by itself outweighs any cost that transitioning away from fossil fuels could present.

Thus, not only can we keep the planet from heating up, but we can also improve our everyday lives by ditching fossil fuels.

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Robert Giaquinto

Robert has been following and writing about environmental stories for years at GreenGeeks. He believes that highlighting environmentally friendly practices can help promote change in every household.

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