With conventional energy prices continuing to rise, to some extent due to inflation and also, possibly, because fossil fuels are starting to run out, lots of people are starting to ask what our energy production is going to look like in the future. In particular, is solar energy going to be able to step up and take care of all our energy needs?
It is certainly the case that we cannot rely on fossil fuels for our energy forever. Even if global warming wasn’t a problem, and of course most scientists agree that it is and one that we have to tackle urgently. Even if that were not the case though, we would still need energy alternatives because as non-renewable sources of energy, fossil fuels are going to run out one day.
That is not going to be for quite a long time, but actually the time when they run out is not when the problems are going to start. The world economy is not doing very well right now, but ideally there should be a constant growth. When that is happening we need more and more energy each year to be able to keep up with it. When we are going to have big problems with fossil fuels, therefore, is when we reach Peak Oil, which is the point at which we are no longer able to extract more oil this year than we were last year. When that hits globally, unless we have another form of energy to take up the slack, further economic growth is going to be impossible.
The good news is that there are all sorts of forms of renewable energy which have been developed, from solar energy to wind energy. The bad news is that, at present, they make up only a very small percentage of the amount of energy that is used worldwide. So is it ever going to get to a stage when renewable energy will be able to take over completely, and what part will solar panels have to play in that?
The most precise answer that can be given to these questions of course is that nobody knows. However with the current state of the technology, it is not very realistic that solar energy, or any other renewable energy source on its own or in combination with others, is going to be able to meet the level of output that oil and other fossil fuels can.
However, that is not to say that technology cannot be improved. In actual fact, the field of solar energy has many research projects going on all around the world, with scientists trying to find ways to improve the technology. How to make it more efficient, more versatile so that it can be used in even more places, and ways to make it more affordable so that everyone can use it.
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The only way that it’s going to be possible for advances to be made, however, is if lots of people get involved right now by purchasing solar panels in their current state. With the feed in tariff offered by the government they are also a much better financial investment than before, which has helped increase their uptake.
If you are interested in getting a solar installation, get in touch with Solar Energy UK on our freephone number for a free quote.