Is Solar Energy Renewable? Tips for Homeowners

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

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

Is photo voltaic power renewable?

Photo voltaic power is an infinite, renewable useful resource. It’s the cleanest and most plentiful power supply accessible. It’s produced by the solar’s gentle and warmth, that are inexhaustible for so long as the solar exists.

Nonetheless, photo voltaic panels, one of many main strategies we use to harness power from the solar, should not a renewable useful resource. They require substitute each 25-30 years and are not totally recyclable. Important developments are underway, corresponding to biodegradable biopanels, however none are extensively accessible. 

What’s photo voltaic power?

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

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

How does solar energy work?

There are three main methods to harness photo voltaic power: 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 expertise for householders and companies. In case you have photo voltaic panels, you should utilize the electrical energy they generate such as you would another energy supply. Electrical energy from solar energy can warmth and funky your house, warmth water, energy lights and home equipment, and extra. 
  • Concentrated photo voltaic: Concentrated photo voltaic expertise is primarily utilized in large-scale photo voltaic farms and industrial use. Corporations additionally usually construct photo voltaic farms in areas that obtain loads 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 power to warmth, cool, and ventilate an area, in addition to substitute conventional water heaters. 

solar panels and wind turbines

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

Solar energy is extra renewable and sometimes extra ecologically pleasant than different frequent power 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 implies they aren’t renewable. Additionally, they emit dangerous gasses like carbon dioxide and methane and require tons of power to extract. 

Pure fuel is way cleaner than different fossil fuels, however nonetheless emits methane and sometimes requires fracking to extract. It is usually very vulnerable to leaking throughout transportation and whereas in storage. 

Nuclear energy

Nuclear energy is not a renewable power supply, however it doesn’t emit greenhouse gasses. Nonetheless, nuclear energy vegetation produce huge quantities of extremely poisonous, harmful radioactive waste. Society hasn’t found a technique to soundly retailer or get rid of nuclear waste in a method that doesn’t leak and considerably hurt folks and the setting. 

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


Hydropower is a really clear power supply and doesn’t emit any greenhouse gasses. Nonetheless, 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 severe concern about the way forward for hydropower.

Wind energy

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

In comparison with solar energy, wind energy isn’t as extensively accessible or constant as solar energy. And, some areas will not be windy sufficient to generate the kinetic power wanted to energy a house or group of buildings. 

Whereas residential wind generators can be found (small wind electrical programs), they usually 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 power for householders

Photo voltaic power is a inexperienced different to conventional power sources and helps the setting. If you’re interested in harnessing solar energy, many packages on the state and federal ranges may also help you lower your expenses when you set up photo voltaic panels. Additionally, you could be eligible for a tax credit score when you swap to solar energy. 

Advantages of photo voltaic power for householders

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

Photo voltaic panels will be costly upfront, however can prevent cash in the long term by lowering or eliminating the electrical energy prices to your house. Additionally, costs of photo voltaic panels are taking place as they turn into extra accessible. Plus, you could get a tax credit score or different profit by going photo voltaic, relying on the place you reside. Decreasing the quantity of hydropower, pure fuel, and different power sources your house makes use of can even reduce your carbon footprint and environmental impression. 

grass and flowers

How photo voltaic power helps the setting

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

Nonetheless, there are some downsides to photo voltaic power. For instance, photo voltaic farms take up loads of area and may negatively have an effect on biodiversity, birds, and pollinators in the event that they aren’t deliberate rigorously. 

It additionally takes different pure sources apart from daylight and area to fabricate photo voltaic panels. Many sources go into making photo voltaic panels, corresponding to silicon and water, that are utilized in manufacturing and manufacturing.


Remaining ideas on photo voltaic power 

As local weather change persists, it’s important to speculate extra in renewable power like solar energy. Photo voltaic power is a virtually infinite power supply and is way cleaner than fossil fuels, corresponding to pure fuel and oil. 

Owners can harness photo voltaic power by utilizing photo voltaic panels. Photo voltaic panels convert power from the solar into electrical energy, which you should utilize like another type of electrical energy. Whereas photo voltaic panels themselves aren’t totally renewable, they assist the setting whereas reducing your power prices. 

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