Why Solar Power Makes Sustainable and Financial Sense?
Solar power has come a long way in the past couple of decades. Never has it been as efficient as it is now and never has it been more affordable than now. With solar technology as it stands in the present time, just how quickly can a household get a return on their investment from a sustainable and financial point of view.
Solar power is one of the many forms of renewable energy that are available to generate electricity for our needs. When energy is generated through solar power, no fossil fuels are produced and no greenhouse gases are emitted, hence the renewable tag. To examine the overall output of solar energy, we need to look into the whole lifecycle of the solar unit. From the production of the panels and the installation of the system, right through until the disposal of the unit; these events all need to be taken into account to develop an opinion on the level of sustainability for solar power.
A recent study published during 2017 conducted research into the energy payback period for the complete lifecycle of a solar power station which was manufactured and installed in China. These results showed that it took approximately 2.3 years of solar generation to offset the energy used on the production and installation of the station. Given this figure, it means that after only 2.3 years, the station was free to generate clean power for the remaining 27.3 years of its expected 30 year lifespan. This equates to more than 90% of a solar system’s lifecycle. A worthy amount considering that fossil fuels are limited in resource and will never generate clean or emission free energy.
Other reviews estimate that this payback period may be even lower for locations that are more ideal for solar power generation. Australia is a great example of a country where the energy payback period for solar power may be shorter. This is due to the high level of sunlight hours and suitable conditions which the country can harness to its advantage.
Australia still has a long way to go in terms of making the transition to renewable energy sources for the generation of our electricity. Non-renewable sources of energy being coal and gas, still make up more than 80% of Australia’s energy generation as of 2017. However, as we touched upon before, renewable energy and solar power in particular, has never been more affordable than today. Affordability is a key promoter of technology adoption and will assist in the acceleration of the shift to clean energy generation in the coming years.
Solar power is now cheap enough to make it both sustainably and financially feasible for families to install residential solar units on their houses. Depending on the location, an investment into a solar system has the capabilities to return your money through electricity bill savings within three to seven years. After another three to seven years, the solar systems would have returned your money again. The result is that it would take approximately six to 14 years for your investment to double. Adelaide is on the lower end of the payback spectrum due to having lots of sunlight and relatively cheap solar systems available. Meanwhile, Hobart is on the higher end of the spectrum due to having relatively less sunlight than the other capital cities and lower rebates on offer for the purchase of solar systems.
Putting this into perspective, if you were to place your money into a term deposit earning 3% per year, it would take 24 years for your money to double. In comparison to the estimated six to 14 year period for a solar installation to manage this same feat, it does make sense from to consider renewable energy as a wise choice, both sustainably and financially.
If this may be something that interests you, there are many solar power payback calculators which are available to be used online and can be found through a simple search. Hopefully, this has given you some insight into just one of the renewable energy sources.
If you have any suggestions for different topics that you may like Luminta to make a write up about in future posts, feel free to contact us and we will try our best to include it in our sustainable series.