By Mark Wilson, staff reporterBloomberg NEW YORK (AP) You’re probably more likely to get the most out of a solar panel than a wind turbine.
You’re also more likely than a coal-fired power plant to use the least.
And while wind and solar energy are more expensive, they’re less polluting than fossil fuels.
So how can you harness the power of solar and wind energy?
For some, the answer is easy.
Just buy more of them.
The cost of energy from solar and solar-powered generators has plummeted over the last decade, according to research from a group of energy and climate experts at MIT.
It’s now cheaper to buy solar energy than coal, natural gas and nuclear power combined.
That means it’s cheaper to produce solar panels, which can last up to 100 years, and to install them on buildings.
“That’s the most important thing for people to understand,” said Greg Walden, chief technology officer at The Solar Foundation, a nonprofit organization that advocates for renewable energy.
“Solar is not going away.
But it’s going to get cheaper.
We can actually make solar energy more accessible and cost-effective.”
Walden also noted that the solar panels and the generators are made in China and other countries where the manufacturing and transportation of solar panels are labor-intensive and expensive.
That’s why Walden says it’s critical for American businesses to look beyond the solar industry and look at ways to use its energy and resources.
“Solar panels are more affordable than coal and natural gas, so it’s a good deal for American companies to take advantage of the opportunity to use their own energy and products,” Walden said.
But while solar panels have been cheap and ubiquitous, they haven’t always been a good fit for America’s energy needs.
Solar panels are designed to be installed on rooftops, so they require an expensive upfront investment, and they’re not great for the environment because they burn fossil fuels, Walden added.
“The energy density and the efficiency is not as good as wind and sun,” Waldens said.
“They’re more expensive.
They have higher operating costs.
But they have a much lower greenhouse gas footprint than solar.”
In fact, the American Wind Energy Association has called on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to review the renewable energy standard in order to help make solar panels more affordable.
The American Wind Alliance, which represents the largest wind power producers in the country, is currently considering the proposal, which it says would help solar panels become a viable energy source for Americans.
“We’re excited about this proposal because it will help us lower our energy costs by reducing the number of hours we have to invest in solar panels,” said Jeff Ruhland, president of the American Renewable Energy Association, which also supports the solar panel standard.
“If this standard is adopted, the benefits of renewable energy will spread across the country and in the United States as a whole,” Ruhart said.
He added that solar energy can help meet some of the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals, including a reduction in power plant emissions by 50 percent by 2030.
“What the market is showing us is that people are using the renewable energies and the resources,” Rufell said.
The Solar Foundation estimates that solar has helped save the United State more than $150 billion in electricity costs over the past 20 years.
That figure doesn’t include the cost of the fuel itself, which has also increased by about $1,200 per year.
“A lot of the solar generation is not using the wind or the sun because they have to be transported to the factory or shipped,” Waldon said.
And when you’re going to be using solar energy, it’s really hard to avoid it.
“You’re going into a country that has an enormous amount of coal and a huge amount of natural gas that’s still producing electricity, and the cost is going up very quickly.
You can’t be cheap on that,” he said.
So what does that mean for businesses?
Solar panels and wind turbines don’t offer the same degree of flexibility and flexibility in terms of what you can and can’t install.
But Walden pointed out that solar panels can help companies meet the requirements for green energy, and that solar power can help offset some of those energy costs.
“This is a new market,” he added.
“But we’re seeing that solar is actually being used in places that previously wouldn’t have been.”
The National Solar Council, which lobbies on behalf of solar manufacturers and generators, says solar is now the third-most popular renewable energy source after coal and gas in the U.S.