How Renewable is Solar PV?
There are many reasons why solar PV attracts so much attention. The biggest of all perhaps being that it is quite environmentally friendly. Across the globe many countries are attempting to decrease greenhouse gas emissions, respond to climate change, and conserve depleting fossils fuels. These countries try this in numerous ways to discover which alternative energy source has the most advantages and least disadvantages; and solar PV is most definitely in the running. Considered as a renewable energy source, solar PV depends mainly on the energy given by the sun’s rays. Some argue that solar PV isn’t entirely renewable because in order to harness this great power scientists have built solar cells using silicone a technically nonrenewable resource. This is somewhat of an exaggeration since, although, it is nonrenewable; it “is the second most common element in the Earth’s crust, comprising 25.7% of the Earth’s crust by weight.” This makes it a very attractive source of energy to produce, not to mention silicon is a nontoxic element, unlike others used for energy, such as uranium.
After cell production, solar PV is entirely environmentally friendly. Not only is it a quiet energy producer, but also it does not emit a single air pollutant. During production however, solar PV does emit a negligible amount of greenhouse gases. According to Environmental Science & Technology, “replacing grid electricity with central PV systems presents signiﬁcant environmental beneﬁts, which…amounts to 89–98% reductions of GHG emissions, criteria pollutants, heavy metals, and radioactive species.” These are very attractive numbers for countries looking to reduce their GHG emissions. The solar PV cells made of silicon also are extremely durable, most of which can last up to 30 years, and many companies even give a 25-year warranty. This means that replacement of solar PV cells annually would be minimal compared to the upkeep and maintenance of numerous other energy sources, like that of coal. Another beneficial aspect of the cells being made of silicon is the fact that they can be recycled, just like glass, at the end of their lifespan.
The main purpose of this advocacy campaign is make the United States a more environmentally friendly country, through solar photovoltaic. Solar PV has accomplished massive advancements in technology and proven its effectiveness in many countries, such as Germany. The United States currently depends on nonrenewable energy sources to power electricity and transportation. The United States has been working on ways to make the country more “green” however it isn’t doing it fast enough. This campaign hopes to put enough pressure on the United States government to make implementing solar PV a high priority, by uniting American solar PV companies to gain a more powerful voice and driving force.
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