Solar power vs. fossil fuels. Who will reign victorious?

Victoria Stromberg – Anchor Contributor

Solar power, what is it? Well, solar power is actually radiant energy that is being emitted by the sun and converted into electricity. Solar power can be compared to fossil fuels, where we get most of our oil from.

Today, the world gets most of its power from fossil fuels such as coal, natural gas, and most well-known, oil. It is also not a secret that a major contributing factor to climate change and environmental downfall are fossil fuels mixed with greenhouse gas emissions (trapping heat in the atmosphere). In fact, according to the EPA in 2012, the greenhouse gas emissions totalled a whopping 6,526 million metric tons. That is 82% of all human caused greenhouse gases. However, these nonrenewable energy sources are slowly coming to an end in terms of supply, and the need for other energy-obtaining resources are vital.

This is where solar power comes into play.

Photos courtesy of Victoria Stromberg

Solar power is a more efficient way of harnessing energy and converting it into electricity. This is because it is a renewable energy source that will never deplete, rather than fossil fuels, which take years to form. Not to mention, solar power is a cleaner way of getting our energy. The use of clean in this context means non-polluting, and not emitting greenhouse gases into the air, which is a plus because it will not contribute to global warming such as fossil fuels already have.

Solar panels are the way we are getting our energy from the sun. In Rhode Island, there are multiple solar farms either already built, or being proposed as per Governor Gina Raimondo’s executive order to generate 1,000 megawatts of renewable energy by 2020. This factor will be of great help to the environment in terms of eliminating already-existing pollution, and the way energy is obtained from here on out.

A brand-new Solar Farm has just finished construction at a capped landfill in North Providence a few months ago.

“This to me, was a no-brainer,” said Mayor Lombardi on his decision to propose a solar farm in this area. “I know it’s the right thing to do.”  

Solar energy is an up-rising practice that is expected to bring down human greenhouse gas emissions into the air quite considerably, seeing as Solar panels release little to no emissions at all. It is important to take solar power, and the damage of fossil fuels seriously for the years ahead.

According to the UN Climate Change Report, we have 12 years to “take action” before the rise in temperature will make it quite difficult to reverse. In their words, the level of global warming between 2030 and 2052 will cause extreme weather, including the sea level to rise causing severe flooding.

All in all, the need to eliminate the use of oil, coal, and natural gas is vital to the earth as of right now. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have determined that carbon dioxide emissions need to hit zero by the year 2075. This is where everyone worldwide needs to make an effort. If possible, get solar panels, reduce the use of oil in homes and lessen the contribution to the pollution of this beautiful planet. It is possible, but there is a lot of hard work ahead.