Written by Dylan Link, ESLLC 2017-2018
The use and popularity of solar energy in the last decade or so has been a highly controversial topic for many. Cost, environmental idealities, and economic issues are all important factors when a person decides whether or not to move in the solar direction. This particular article I read discussed the issues surrounding solar energy in Nevada. The article begins with a quote from former president Bill Clinton that said, “If I were y’all, y’all would be the Saudi Arabia of solar.” Nevada is an extremely sunny place that has the potential to produce lots of solar power. With its vast dessert terrain and lack of people populating those areas, it would be a perfect candidate for many large solar farms.
The solar industry has taken a beating in the last year or two because of recent governmental regulations that make it a less financially viable option for most working-class people. The large utility companies had to start raising their costs of operation because less and less people were using their energy sourced from the burning of fossil fuels. They did not like this so they used governmental connections to fight the trend towards personal solar panels. For me, it would make sense for the power companies to reimburse private solar owners when they create power for the power that is given back to the grid. This is simple to me and when I read this article I was extremely surprised that the electric companies held so much weight in the government.
The most important aspect of solar energy for me is the reduction of our carbon footprint on the atmosphere. Currently we have over 400 parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere which is much higher than it has been in the last 400,000 years. To put this into perspective, scientists consider 450 ppm of carbon dioxide a dangerous level. This has a direct correlation with humans burning of fossil fuels and in general, carbon emissions. It has been discovered that if we reduce our carbon emissions wherever possible, it will slow down the rate at which the carbon levels are rising. My incentive to move towards using more solar energy has nothing to do with the cost, but has everything to do with reducing my impact on the atmosphere.