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The Solar Energy Conflict Essay

885 words - 4 pages

Youssef 1Patrick YoussefMrs. WatsonHonors English14 May 2014The Solar Energy ConflictSolar energy has become an increasingly popular source of energy for home owners and for large businesses. Unlike the majority of other power sources, solar energy is entirely renewable and has low maintenance. Solar energy is a cost effective energy source leading to decreased energy bills, no by-products, and is entirely renewable. The reasons for the conflict are the counter arguments that have been developed and supported by individuals, such as the cost of a solar setup, the usage of limited silicate crystal, and that solar power is intermittent.The most obvious of the benefits is that the energy is produced from an entirely free source, so energy bills are decreased or completely eliminated. This is possible even with a 40% residential electricity price rise since 2000, because although your power usage may not increase the price of electricity will, but solar power won't become more expensive over usage years ("Solar…Electric Bill"). You have constant power and in most cases your bill will be paid for, so there is no risk of having your power cut off. A common counter argument is that the initial cost of the system outweighs the benefits (Ames), but according to the California Solar Electric Company most systems are paid off within a decade ("FAQ"), or individuals have the option to lease out solar panels and only pay for the usage, not the hardware, and have their supplier manage and maintain the setup. ("SolarLease").Another benefit to solar energy is that it has no by-products or emissions (Maehlum). This is better for the environment as compared to coal or petroleum power sources, because no fossil fuels/stored energy is depleted or burned. Also, the air quality in a solar-based community greatly improves because of a reduced burning of fossil fuels. A study by the Energy Foundation concludes that with proper support, 75% of the country's residential power can be generated by 2010, and 80% by 2020 which would allow for decreased fossil fuel burning ("States…Solar"). A popular counter argument is the fact that the manufacturing of these panels creates by-products such as Silicon Tetrachloride, a strong corrosive that makes land too acidic for plants (McDermott), and thus just relocates the by-products. Also, they say that the manufacturing of these panels use almost 44.4% of our yearly silicate supply (Kaita), but we are finding alternatives to using silicate crystal and ways to produce a surplus of silicate crystal (Proctor, and Shultz).One final benefit to solar energy is that it is an entirely renewable source of energy, and requires little...

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