The unprecedented growth in the solar market is a marvel. It is the result of an industry that found a way to deliver a sustainable and cost-friendly alternative to fossil fuels. The Covid-19 pandemic furloughed many Americans and forced many others to work from home. Yet, solar companies were able to adapt. Internet sales replaced door-to-door sales, and the entire solar market outperformed expectations. Solar capacity has increased drastically, and there seems to be no sign of the industry slowing down.
A Positive Outlook For All Of Solar
Solar energy is gaining traction. The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) released a report projecting solar growth will ‘quadruple by 2030.’ Additionally, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the employment of photovoltaic (PV) installers “is projected to grow 51 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations.” The industry will have to hire more PV installers to address higher demand. Large-scale solar farms, combined with small-scale rooftop installations, are a catalyst for solar growth. The renewable market is reaching new heights. As the solar industry’s momentous opportunity gains steam, individuals, businesses, and utility companies are taking advantage. Lawmakers have also taken notice. Many states look to increase incentives for renewable energy, especially solar power. Congress extended the Investment Tax Credit, a federal tax credit worth 26% of a homeowner’s initial solar investment. Addressing the climate change crisis will require everyone’s involvement, from politicians to utility companies to households. This expected growth couldn’t have been done without utility companies and homeowners. This week, we will compare small-scale residential solar to massive solar farms.
Rooftop Solar Versus Solar Farms
The. movement toward a sustainable, greener future will take massive organized effort, and we must never forget the homeowner’s importance. The movement starts with residential solar. Residential solar has been essential for the solar industry, and small-scale solar installations thrived in 2020. More people began taking advantage of the incentives, benefits, and long-term savings. There are specific positives from the residential solar sector that aren’t found when analyzing the larger-scale utility, corporate sectors.
Perhaps the most significant benefit is that residential solar doesn’t require additional land to build. Instead, individuals can install PV panels directly on their homes. This, in turn, decreases the need to develop large amounts of land. The land usage is a negative when it comes to relying on utility solar. Solar farms take a lot of space to install thousands of panels, and solar panel concentration gives rise to another problem. Concentrated solar panels kills birds and disrupts migration patterns. Sammy Roth of The Desert Sun wrote, “Solar farms might help limit the carbon emissions responsible for climate change, but they’re harming delicate ecosystems and species, from desert tortoises and bighorn sheep to certain migratory birds. Many conservationists have argued that state and federal officials should prioritize rooftop solar panels over large-scale power plants.”
Residential solar allows homeowners to capitalize off moving away from fossil fuels. Energy bills drastically reduce, and the households become sustainable. Solar farms reduce costs and help reduce emissions, but the environment’s effects are more disruptive than rooftop solar. An increase in solar farms’ environmental disruption over rooftop solar seems to be the growing consensus within the solar community. Khaled Diab, of AL Jazeera, stated,
“In addition to causing possibly irreversible biodiversity loss, the changes in land use are likely to result in emissions that are currently unaccounted for. These include the direct effects on the carbon absorption capacity of the land occupied by solar installations and the indirect effects on the land taken over by displaced activities… This demonstrates why it makes sense, even in sunny climates, to move away from centralized solutions and locate solar power installations as close as possible to the final consumption points. The issue then becomes one of how to ensure that the space occupied by these installations is not damaging to the environment, either directly or indirectly.”
The conclusion is to reiterate the emphasis on moving away from solar utility farms. Diab shares that because of these issues, solar panels should be nearer to the point of consumption. This will eliminate many of the problems brought forth by large solar utility farms.
Solar Farms Are Still Necessary
Solar farms provide clean, sustainable energy to many Americans who cannot afford their own systems. Solar farms reduce emissions. Utility solar developers tend to foot the bill for repairs and upgrades on the electrical grid. However, with more consumer-level incentives, the solar industry will prioritize small-scale residential solar installations over large-scale solar farms. It is the better long-term solution. If you’re in the Sarasota area and are interested in joining the fight against climate change, you can request a free rooftop solar quote. If you want to learn more about solar offers or how affordable solar can be, check out our blog.