Solar vs Electric

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Solar vs Electric – The pros and cons

In Australia, our energy is mostly sourced from fossil fuels. For various reasons such as cost-efficiency and environmental issues, Australians are starting to take the leap and go solar. To help you decide, here is a list of the advantages and disadvantages of traditional versus solar energies.

Fossil fuels: An existing and efficient infrastructure

86% of the energy in Australia is sourced from coal and gas. They are both available in huge quantities and can be found pretty much everywhere on the planet. The technology and infrastructures are well developed as we have been relying on fossil fuels for decades. They are also fairly easy to transport thanks to underground pipes. Fossil fuels are extremely efficient – which is why we have kept on using them for so long. For example, a small quantity of coal can generate large amounts of energy. Conventional energy also accounts for thousands of jobs in Australia and everywhere in the world, from technicians to truck drivers.

Environmental, health and safety issues

There are many reasons why the use of traditional energy sources is under debate, the main one being their impact on the environment.

The removal of coal – or excavation – completely destroys the ground, which can cause geological instability. In terms of human lives, coal mining is here again very costly. Many miners lose their lives due to poor working conditions resulting in accidents and the development of illnesses.

Once extracted, coal then needs to be transported to power stations with trucks, resulting in air pollution. When on-site, coal needs to be burnt to produce electricity, causing further air pollution by releasing large quantities of carbon dioxide.

Using gas, the second biggest source of energy in Australia, for electric power is much more straightforward than coal. In that sense, it contributes to global warming a lot less than its counterparts. It’s dangerosity however, is an issue that can hardly be overlooked: gas leaks lead to explosions, destroying buildings as well as many lives.

Fossil fuels are available in finite quantities and are non-renewable. They will become rarer, more expensive and could be at the origin of even more international conflicts if we go on using them in such amounts.

Solar vs Electric

Solar power: A clean and unlimited source of energy

On the other hand, sun is a renewable, unlimited source of energy. As long as the sun keeps shining (which should last for about 5 billion years), we will be able to turn that sunlight into electricity. Unlike coal, it requires no excavation, no transportation and no combustion! It is a non-invasive, clean and safe process, with no greenhouse gas emissions nor byproducts. More abundant than any other fuel, it is available everywhere in varying quantities and geopolitical tensions have no impact on its cost. There is absolutely no way we can “over-consume” sunlight: it is a totally sustainable source of energy.

There are also some clear advantages for your household – which is why two million homes have been fitted with solar panels in Australia. Solar energy can save a lot of money on your electricity bill and need very little maintenance. Additionally, there is no need to worry too much about the cost of the installation as the Small-Scale Renewable Energy Scheme can help reduce its upfront cost.

The downside of photovoltaics

Solar panels transform sunlight into electricity using photovoltaics. When light is not available, for example during cloudy days or nights, no energy is produced. The other issue is the amount of solar panels needed to generate a sufficient amount of electricity. Depending on the panels and the amount of sunlight, a one square meter panel can produce roughly 200 watts per hour.

The list of pros and cons for conventional electricity versus solar energy is pretty damning for the former. And if the impact fossil fuels have on the planet and on people’s health is not enough to convince you, maybe their unstable prices will… While solar energy is not a perfect solution, it is definitely a wise long-term investment. Go solar to start saving money and the planet while creating a safe and healthy environment for your loved ones!

If you need a Gold Coast electrician, contact the experts at MC Power Electrical Solutions on 0432 022 294. We specialise in residential electrical solutions, everything from LED lighting, smoke alarm installation & maintenance, installation of ceiling fans, data & phone installations, lighting solutions and much more.