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Solar VLOG 1
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Defining Our Terms
In our contemporary world, terms such as “renewable” and “sustainable” and “clean” are often thrown about to describe energy sources, but commonly left undefined. When these terms are left vague, it can be hard to grasp how different energy sources could impact our environment in radically different ways—especially in the long term. Here at Solar Energy Systems, we desire to define our terms so you can clearly understand why it may be in your best interest, as well as the interest of the world at large, to convert to solar energy.
Solar energy is often described as a renewable, sustainable, and clean energy source. When we say that solar energy is “renewable”, we mean that its source of energy is naturally replenishing. Since the earth will continue to receive sunlight as long as the sun is in the sky, we do not have to worry about “running out” of solar energy. Other energy sources, such as fossil fuels, are non-renewable, which means that they do not replenish themselves and are therefore, however slowly, being “used up.” We can illustrate this difference in everyday terms by applying them to sources of income: winning the lottery would be a non-renewable source of income, while a salaried position would be a renewable one.
The meaning of “sustainable” can be a bit more tricky, because, at least at one level, “sustainability” is always relative to what needs to be sustained. To go back to the example of sources of income, even a salaried position, while renewable, could fail to be sustainable if the salary does not meet an individual’s expenses. By this definition, the various renewable energy sources, when taken together, are not sustainable at the global level. Simply put, we do not produce enough renewable energy to sustain current levels of energy usage. At Solar Energy Systems, we take the lack of sustainability of renewable energy sources as a call to action. We believe that it is up to each of us to make renewable energy a sustainable energy source, and that we can begin by doing our best to sustain ourselves on a renewable energy source.
It is important to note that many people use the term “sustainability” to describe the long-term viability of an energy source. When used in this sense, the term does not refer to whether an energy course could sustain current energy usage, but whether it can be produced indefinitely without damaging the environment (i.e. it must be “clean”) and harnessed without undermining its own functioning. Wind power is an example of an energy source that is sustainable in this sense. Because wind turbines do not damage the environment or obstruct wind flow, wind power is an energy source that could be sustained indefinitely in the future.
Solar energy is a renewable energy source that is clean (it does not damage the environment) and does not undermine its own functioning (in collecting sunlight it does not prevent the sun from shining). Therefore, converting to solar energy is perhaps the best way that each of us can contribute to the process of making renewable energy sources sustainable on the global level. Solar Energy Systems is here to provide information regarding the environmental benefits of solar energy, as well as guidance and expertise as you consider “going solar.”