Is Solar Energy Renewable? Tips for Homeowners

Renewable vitality is vitality from pure sources that replenish at a better fee than we devour them. They’re an important device to fight local weather change and might create a extra equitable world. Wind, hydropower, and geothermal vitality are examples of renewable vitality, however is photo voltaic vitality renewable? 

Whether or not you reside in a home in Columbia, MD, or an condominium in Boston, learn on to study photo voltaic vitality, the way it compares to different vitality sources, and the way we harness it to energy our houses, cities, and the world.

Is photo voltaic vitality renewable?

Photo voltaic vitality is an infinite, renewable useful resource. It’s the cleanest and most ample vitality supply obtainable. It’s produced by the solar’s mild and warmth, that are inexhaustible for so long as the solar exists.

Nevertheless, photo voltaic panels, one of many major strategies we use to harness vitality from the solar, aren’t a renewable useful resource. They require substitute each 25-30 years and are not solely recyclable. Important developments are underway, reminiscent of biodegradable biopanels, however none are broadly obtainable. 

What’s photo voltaic vitality?

The solar produces two varieties of vitality that we will harness: mild and warmth. It produces these by means of nearly-infinite nuclear fusion. The brighter and warmer an space is, the extra vitality we will harness from the solar. 

As well as, photo voltaic vitality doesn’t emit greenhouse gasses, making it an environmentally-friendly different to conventional vitality sources. It’s additionally extraordinarily cost-effective and may help owners and companies lower your expenses on their vitality payments over time.

How does solar energy work?

There are three major methods to harness photo voltaic vitality: photo voltaic panels, concentrated photo voltaic, and photo voltaic course of warmth. 

  • Photo voltaic panels: Photo voltaic panels are the commonest kind of photo voltaic know-how for owners and companies. When you’ve got photo voltaic panels, you should use the electrical energy they generate such as you would every other energy supply. Electrical energy from solar energy can warmth and funky your private home, warmth water, energy lights and home equipment, and extra. 
  • Concentrated photo voltaic: Concentrated photo voltaic know-how is primarily utilized in large-scale photo voltaic farms and industrial use. Corporations additionally typically construct photo voltaic farms in areas that obtain a whole lot of daylight. For instance, the largest photo voltaic farm within the US is positioned simply outdoors of Los Angeles, an space that receives an enormous quantity of daylight yearly. 
  • Photo voltaic course of warmth: Photo voltaic course of warmth is a technique of utilizing photo voltaic vitality to warmth, cool, and ventilate an area, in addition to substitute conventional water heaters. 

solar panels and wind turbines

How is photo voltaic vitality totally different from different vitality sources?

Solar energy is extra renewable and infrequently extra ecologically pleasant than different frequent vitality sources, together with fossil fuels, nuclear energy, hydropower, and wind energy. Let’s dive in to find how. 

Fossil fuels

Fossil fuels are finite and can finally run out, which suggests they aren’t renewable. Additionally, they emit dangerous gasses like carbon dioxide and methane and require tons of vitality to extract. 

Pure gasoline is far cleaner than different fossil fuels, however nonetheless emits methane and infrequently requires fracking to extract. It is usually very liable to leaking throughout transportation and whereas in storage. 

Nuclear energy

Nuclear energy is not a renewable vitality supply, but it surely doesn’t emit greenhouse gasses. Nevertheless, nuclear energy vegetation produce huge quantities of extremely poisonous, harmful radioactive waste. Society hasn’t found a technique to securely retailer or get rid of nuclear waste in a method that doesn’t leak and considerably hurt individuals and the surroundings. 

Moreover, nuclear energy vegetation can explode, inflicting widespread and decades-long destruction.


Hydropower is a really clear vitality supply and doesn’t emit any greenhouse gasses. Nevertheless, dams devastate salmon populations together with many different species of vegetation and animals. And as local weather change worsens, many reservoirs and rivers have dried up, inflicting critical concern about the way forward for hydropower.

Wind energy

Like photo voltaic, wind energy is an infinitely renewable useful resource with much less environmental affect than different vitality sources like fossil fuels and hydropower. 

In comparison with solar energy, wind energy isn’t as broadly obtainable or constant as solar energy. And, some areas might not be windy sufficient to generate the kinetic vitality wanted to energy a house or group of buildings. 

Whereas residential wind generators can be found (small wind electrical programs), they typically require extra particular circumstances than photo voltaic panels and should not generate as a lot electrical energy. Plus, they require particular zoning permits and are costly to put in. 

Photo voltaic vitality for owners

Photo voltaic vitality is a inexperienced different to conventional vitality sources and helps the surroundings. If you’re inquisitive about harnessing solar energy, many applications on the state and federal ranges may help you lower your expenses for those who set up photo voltaic panels. Additionally, chances are you’ll be eligible for a tax credit score for those who swap to solar energy. 

Advantages of photo voltaic vitality for owners

Capturing photo voltaic vitality may help you lower your expenses and cut back your carbon footprint. 

Photo voltaic panels could be costly upfront, however can prevent cash in the long term by decreasing or eliminating the electrical energy prices on your residence. Additionally, costs of photo voltaic panels are happening as they change into extra obtainable. Plus, chances are you’ll get a tax credit score or different profit by going photo voltaic, relying on the place you reside. Lowering the quantity of hydropower, pure gasoline, and different vitality sources your private home makes use of may also reduce your carbon footprint and environmental affect. 

grass and flowers

How photo voltaic vitality helps the surroundings

Photo voltaic vitality is renewable and doesn’t emit dangerous greenhouse gasses or noxious chemical compounds. Whereas different vitality sources might dry up, like hydropower and fossil fuels, solar energy gained’t. 

Nevertheless, there are some downsides to photo voltaic vitality. For instance, photo voltaic farms take up a whole lot of house and might negatively have an effect on biodiversity, birds, and pollinators in the event that they aren’t deliberate fastidiously. 

It additionally takes different pure assets moreover daylight and house to fabricate photo voltaic panels. Many assets go into making photo voltaic panels, reminiscent of silicon and water, that are utilized in manufacturing and manufacturing.


Last ideas on photo voltaic vitality 

As local weather change persists, it’s important to speculate extra in renewable vitality like solar energy. Photo voltaic vitality is an almost infinite vitality supply and is way cleaner than fossil fuels, reminiscent of pure gasoline and oil. 

Householders can harness photo voltaic vitality through the use of photo voltaic panels. Photo voltaic panels convert vitality from the solar into electrical energy, which you should use like every other type of electrical energy. Whereas photo voltaic panels themselves aren’t solely renewable, they assist the surroundings whereas reducing your vitality prices. 

Redfin doesn’t present monetary or environmental recommendation. Particular person vitality wants, use, and capabilities might fluctuate. At all times seek the advice of knowledgeable and take your particular person circumstances under consideration earlier than putting in photo voltaic panels.