Something pretty remarkable occurred this past spring, and it sort of went under the radar. According to Newsweek, wind and solar energy sources have for the first time ever surpassed nuclear power in the U.S.
These sustainable energy sources, with solar panels as the leader, produced nearly 18% more electricity than nuclear plants in April of 2022. Cleaner, greener energy is here to stay, and for homeowners, that means one thing: lower power bills for decades to come, which could spell tens of thousands in overall savings.
Renewable energy isn’t just solar and wind. Hydroelectric, geothermal, and biomass energy are also part of this incredible family of next-gen power sources. At nearly 30% of the nation’s total power generation, renewable energy looks like it’s not only here to stay, but is poised to take over.
U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) Marks Uptick From 20% to 30%
The EIA noted that in 2021, renewable energy only accounted for 20% of total electric usage across the nation. Now we’re at 30% and climbing. Homeowners from coast to coast are qualifying for zero down solar, effectively cutting their monthly energy bills by 50-70% in the process.
Ken Bossong, executive director of SUN DAY Campaign, put it like this: "Notwithstanding headwinds such as the pandemic, grid access problems, and disruptions in global supply chains, solar and wind remain on a roll. Moreover, by surpassing nuclear power by ever greater margins, they illustrate the foolishness of trying to revive the soon-to-retire Diablo Canyon nuclear plant in California and the just-retired Palisades reactor in Michigan rather than focusing on accelerating renewables' growth."
Climate change has become more and more of a problem in recent years, with fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas being attributed to the rise in global temperatures. The hydrocarbons contained in these fossil fuels release toxic energy when they’re burned, which is how we create electrical power in our homes and businesses.
Solar Is the Solution
Carbon dioxide is a whole other problem fossil fuels have been causing for decades, if not centuries now. CO2 traps heat in the atmosphere, creating the greenhouse effect that results in global warming.
Rising temperatures are a major problem for all of mankind, creating rising sea levels, more droughts, severe weather like hurricanes and super storms (not to mention fires), and loss of animal and plant life in every nation.
So what can we do as individuals? Going solar is a start, and the more homes that install rooftop solar, the cleaner, greener, and safer our homes and neighborhoods will become. Saving the planet also means savings in your wallet, as the average solar system can save thousands of dollars a year for decades to come.
Rooftop Solar Panels Last Roughly 30 Years
Nuclear was long seen as a relatively clean solution for energy, as carbon dioxide isn’t really one of its byproducts. But while greenhouse gasses aren’t necessarily an issue created by nuclear, the plants’ nuclear waste is incredibly toxic to our environment.
Rooftop solar, on the other hand, is almost totally clean. And the panels themselves are extremely durable, lasting up to 30 years or even more while requiring very little maintenance. And one thing solar won’t do is malfunction in a manner that creates catastrophe.
Remember Chernobyl anyone? Or Three Mile Island? These disasters caused cancer rates to spike, not to mention the radiation sickness both plant employees and emergency workers faced.
Renewables Can Slow Climate Change
Solar simply produces way less greenhouse gas emissions. They’re also sustainable and renewable, as the sun isn’t going to be used up and dried out like coal and oil reserves. Between wind, solar, and hydroelectric (the three largest sources of renewable energy), the way we produce and consume electricity is experiencing a sea change.
Fossil fuels may become exactly that: fossils. Obsolete. Solar power alone has decreased in cost to consumers by over 85% in the past decade, causing rooftop solar’s popularity to skyrocket, right through that very same roof.
And even though coal still accounts for the lion’s share of power generation in the U.S., that number did decrease by over 4% last year alone. The International Energy Agency is eyeing the Paris Agreement’s net-zero by 2050 goal, earmarking solar and wind for 20% total electric sourcing by 2025, and 70% by 2050.
For homeowners, it’s a win-win. Cleaner, greener energy means a safer future for themselves and their families, along with more money in their wallets from the savings. On average, solar homeowners can expect monthly electric bills to be 50-70% lower than they were before they installed the panels.
That fact alone could be accounting for solar and wind’s defeat of nuclear power this year. And in the end, it’s the homeowners who are making all the difference.