The Impacts of Solar Energy on Daily Life

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Everyday life now requires the constant use of energy for everything humans do; from powering the lights, to running the dishwasher, and communicating with others through devices such as cell phones. With all of this technology the energy to power them currently comes mainly from fossil fuels such as natural gas, coal, and oil. But what would the impact be if solar energy was used to replace some of those fossil fuels? A look at how solar photovoltaic (PV) energy impacts purchased electrical energy costs, capital investment in energy generation and distribution, and pollution related to energy generation and distribution in the modern world will show that solar photovoltaic energy has a positive impact on human lives. First a look at energy costs. Energy costs are rising year after year due to the cost of labor, fuel, overhead, and maintenance required to keep up with the vast demand of energy. Power companies have found a way to recover their rising costs by increasing consumer rates and surcharges. The typical household today has an electrical rate that is over fifty percent energy charge in order to cover these fuel, labor, and administration costs (Xcel Energy). Up to five percent of this rate goes to government regulation costs. These costs are considered variable charges because they change over time. Xcel Energy CEO Ben Fowke states, “Renewable energy is an excellent way to protect customers from high fuel costs” (8). Point of use solar PV systems produce energy where it will be used and have only ongoing maintenance charges as a variable cost. This cost is usually minimal because the average warranty on most solar PV systems is twenty to twenty-five years (Xcel Energy). Once installed, point of use solar PV syst... ... middle of paper ... ...ork Cited Page Bratley, James. “Pros & Cons of Solar Energy.” Clean-energy-ideas.com. Clean Energy Ideas, n.d. Web. 26 Feb. 2014. Lutzenberger, Tom. “The Impact of Solar Energy.” ehow.com. eHow, n.d. Web. 16 Feb. 2014. Nagel, Mariam C. “Solar Energy,” Climate Change: In Context 2 (@008): 804-806. Gale Cengage Learning. Web. 25 Feb. 2014. Norris, Reginald. “Does Solar Energy Hurt the Grid?” renewableenergyworld.com. Renewable Energy World, 3 March. 2011. Web. 25 Feb. 2014 Schlager, Neil. Weisblatt, Jayne. “Energy Conservation and Efficiency” Water Energy, Wind Energy, Energy Conservation and Efficiency, Possible Future Energy Sources 3 (2006): 337-378. Gale Cengage Learning. Web. 25 Feb. 2014. Toothman, Jessika. Aldous, Scott. “How Solar Cells Work.” howstuffworks.com. How Stuff Works, n.d. Web. 27 Feb. 2014. Xcel Energy. Xcel Energy: Annual Report 2013. 2014. Print
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