Before you can understand why solar energy is important you should have a good idea of what solar energy is. Solar energy is produced by the sun. It can be harnessed like any other type of energy and used to create electricity to run homes and businesses. Buildings can also be heated by the thermal energy produced by the sun. Best of all, solar energy is free and does not compromise the environment.
To be cost-effective, any source of power has to produce more energy than it consumes. Oil companies would hardly turn a profit, for example, if extracting a barrel of oil required the energy output of a second barrel of oil.
The same holds true of renewable energy sources like wind and solar. Though renewable projects pay the lion's share of both their energetic and financial costs up front, they still have to recover those costs over a lifetime of service and continue to produce value if they are to yield a net-energy surplus.
Thanks to dramatic improvements in the manufacture of both wind and solar technologies, that appears to be more than possible. A new study published in the journal Energy & Environmental Science finds that wind and solar not only produce enough power to be energetically sustainable but could support grid-scale energy storage as well.
“What we're saying is that theoretically, it is now theoretically possible …
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