Science Daily recently published an article (Hernandez, 2015) that explored the possibilities of what solar energy can do for the state of California. According to the article, the harnessing of solar energy in California could meet energy demand three to fives times over (Hernandez, 2015). By integrating solar panels into residential and commercial rooftops it will reduce the both the environmental impact and also will not take up additional space. Solar facilities, which produce electricity through concentrating solar power by large mirrors, can be built on undeveloped sites or already degraded areas. By using both photovoltaics such as solar panels and concentrating solar power in tandem, it is estimated that an upwards of 21,000 terawatt-hours of energy/year can be produced in small and utility scale solar power (Hernandez, 2015). Although the initial cost to install such equipment may be unprecedented, the long term success will undoubtedly over look any amount of cost.
Prior research done by Kyle Siler-Evans and Morgan Granger at the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America explains that although southwest states such as California possess the greatest solar resource, a solar panel installed in a northeastern state displaces significantly more environmentally hazardous particulates such as sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides (Evans, Granger, 2012). This is due to the fact that northeastern states rely much more heavily on generators that cause a significant amount of pollution. On the contrary a study published by Nature and Climate Change believes solar energy is the key to sustainability in California even if the results aren’t as appealing. This can be achieved through continuing developing solar energy systems and increasing small and utility scale solar energy in residential and urban areas within California (Hoffacker, Field, 2015).
The original article presented a valid way of solving California’s energy needs but lacked the opposing argument of the issue. I believe that solar energy is certainly a main component to creating a sustainable society.
Kyle Siler-Evans , Morgan Granger , Lima Azevedo . 2012. Regional variations in the health, environment, and climate benefits of wind and solar generation. National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, cited [March 26, 2015] vol. 110 no. 29 (11768-11773). Available from: doi: 10.1073/pnas.1221978110
Madison K. Hoffacker, Christopher B. Field. Efficient use of land to meet sustainable energy needs. Nature Climate Change, 2015; Available from: doi:10.1038/nclimate2556
Rebecca R. Hernandez . March 16, 2015. Solar could meet California energy demand three to fives times over [Internet].Nature Climate Change, cited March 26, 2015] . Available from: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/03/150316135152.htm