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Kaylee Zorman
Mr. Bradley
Government 2
18 October 2016
Renewable Energy: The World Run on Solar
All forms of energy, excluding nuclear power, originate from the sun. Plants get their
energy from the sun and when their remains are burned, as either biomass or coal, that energy is
given off. The sun also controls weather patterns such as wind--used in wind power, and rain-which is used in hydropower (Green). Photovoltaic solar power uses large plates of silicon to
directly absorb the suns energy to power anything from a lightbulb to an entire city. Its energy
efficient, renewable, and clean, unlike other forms of energy such as natural gas, coal, and fossil
fuels--which pollute the atmosphere with greenhouse gases. To reduce the effects of climate
change and make the environment a healthier place, more people, businesses, and cities need to
use renewable energy sources. However, many people today cannot afford it. The Sun Act is a
bill that proposes giving grants to businesses and residents who wish to install solar panels. This
bill should be approved because solar power is more efficient than non renewable energy, solar
panels are too expensive for US citizens to afford, and installing more solar panels around the
world will benefit the environment.
The sun is the most powerful energy source the earth has, so why isnt it the earths main
source of energy? Solar energy is the most abundant energy resource on earth -- 173,000
terawatts of solar energy strikes the Earth continuously. That's more than 10,000 times the
world's total energy use (Pierce). There is more than enough of the suns energy to go around.
Using solar power instead of burning coal or natural gas could save the earth resources and time.

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Photovoltaic panels on just 0.6% of the nations total land area could supply enough electricity
to power the entire United States (Solar Energy). If enough people and businesses were to go
solar, the nation could be run solely by solar power. If a house design takes into account the
fact that the sun projects substantial amounts of energy onto the buildings outer shell and
exploits this solar advantage...the heating energy requirement could easily be reduced by 50
percent or more (Eisenbeiss 31). Covering a roof in solar panels is one simple way to make a
home self-sustaining. Everyone could save money on their electrical bills, if only they could
afford it.
The Sun Act will provide an incentive for more people to install solar panels. Today the
cost of buying, permitting, and installing solar panels is more expensive than buying a car. Many
people who wish to install solar panels cannot because of its high cost. Soft costs make up 64%
of the total price of solar panels; these non hardware costs like permits, installation, and finance
make solar panels unaffordable (Ulrich). While installing solar panels might save residents and
businesses hundreds or even thousands on their electrical bill, paying for the installation and
permitting drives the cost up so that many who could benefit from solar power cannot afford it.
...despite marvelous efficiency of distributed power, solar panels still remain much more
expensive than centralized power stations (Green). While power stations pollute the atmosphere
and release greenhouse gases, they are still the cheapest, most cost-efficient option. Other
problems driving people away from using solar power are the many different laws and
regulations; Red tape related to solar installations can drive up costs and limit solar adoption. In
the US, there are 18,000 jurisdictions, 3,000 utilities, and 50 states with different rules and
regulations (Ulrich). If the government were to pay for some portion of permitting and
installing solar panels, some of these costly jurisdictions and utilities could be done away with.

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The price of solar panels need to be driven down so that they become the most efficient and
economically beneficial option.
The Sun Act also takes advantage of the economical benefits of using renewable energy.
The easiest way to prevent climate change from getting any worse is to reduce the amount of
greenhouse gases that are emitted into the atmosphere every day. Along with wind and
hydropower, solar power is one of the few renewable energy sources in the world. Getting more
people to switch to solar power stops air pollution and lessens the effects of climate change.
Solar power technology is clean. Unlike coal, natural gas, or nuclear power, it emits no air
pollution or greenhouse gases, nor does it leave behind dangerous radioactive waste (Eisenbeiss
34). Solar energy is one of the cleanest energy sources out there; it has no harmful impact on the
environment. As the cleanest domestic energy source available, solar supports broader national
priorities, including national security, economic growth, climate change mitigation, and job
creation (Solar Energy). On a national scale, solar power has more benefits than negatives,
unlike its nonrenewable energy counterparts. However, together coal and natural gas produced
66% of the U.S.s electricity in 2014 (Electricity Production). As of right now, the majority of
Americas energy comes from nonrenewable energy sources; the lower this percentage is, the
more beneficial it is for the environment.
The Sun Act aims to make solar panels more affordable for US homes and businesses;
however, one could argue that the price of solar panels is steadily decreasing and solar
companies themselves are becoming more competitive with large energy companies. As solar
panels become marginally more affordable, the market for solar power is growing, so why
should the government provide any incentive? As the pace of cost reductions for modules and
inverters has slowed in recent years, the proportion from soft costs-such as labor, overhead, and

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permitting costs-has grown (NREL Report). While the price of building solar panels is
decreasing, the other expenses that make up the majority of the cost such as installation,
permitting, and labor still make solar panels unaffordable. Solar technology is becoming more
popular amongst the people; there are more solar companies in America today than there were 5
years ago, but this doesnt mean that the government shouldnt help people who cant afford
solar power. Of the 22.2 quadrillion Btus (British thermal units) consumed by residential homes
in the year 2010, only 0.1 quadrillion Btus came from solar power (Section 19). Although this
number is slowly increasing, its not nearly enough for solar companies to be fully competitive
with coal, natural gas, and nuclear energy power plants. Although the cost of producing solar
panels is decreasing, and solar power is being used by more people every year, the numbers are
still too small. The government needs to act now to ensure that renewable energy surpasses its
harmful competitors.
The Sun Act is energy efficient, encourages people to use solar power, and will benefit
the environment greatly. The use of coal, natural gas, and fossil fuels is harming the
environment, and one of the greatest ways to stop pollution and gas emissions is to switch to
renewable energy. While solar panels are expensive to install, they are still the cheapest option in
the long run. Using wind or hydropower requires large open spaces and materials, but an
individual could set up solar panels on their own roof. If enough houses were to run off solar
panels, they could provide enough energy for an entire city. With enough effort renewable energy
may be the last kind of energy the earth will ever need.

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Works Cited
Eisenbeiss, Gerd. ""Renewable Resources: Where Will Tomorrow's Energy Come
From?"" Deutschland Oct. 1996: 30-34. Print.
"Electricity Production and Distribution." Alternative Fuels Data Center. U.S. Department of
Energy, 10 May 2016. Web. 07 Sept. 2016.
Green, Hank. Solar Energy. YouTube, uploaded by SciShow, 8 Jan. 2012.
"NREL Report Shows U.S. Solar Photovoltaic Costs Continuing to Fall in 2016."
National Renewable Energy Laboratory, 28 Sept. 2016. Web. 10 Oct. 2016.
Pierce, Erin R. "Top 6 Things You Didn't Know About Solar Energy." U.S.

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Department of Energy, 6 June 2016. Web. 17 Sept. 2016.
"Section 19. Energy and Utilities." US Census Bureau. United States Census Bureau, 2012. Web.
16 Sept. 2016.
"Solar Energy in the United States." U.S. Department of Energy, n.d. Web. 06 Oct.
Ulrich, Elaine, Dr. "Soft Costs 101: The Key to Achieving Cheaper Solar Energy."
U.S. Department of Energy, 25 Feb. 2016. Web. 17 Sept. 2016.