Assignment 2: Solar Energy in the US

Slowly but surely, alternative energy usage is becoming a major trend in the US. While fossil fuels remain the dominant source of energy, nuclear, wind, and solar energy have become more popular. Many people may feel that alternative energy is a government initiative that only occurs on large-scale levels. However, solar energy allows homeowners to power their own homes, which saves money and lowers pollution. In addition, the Obama administration has attempted to do its part, with mixed results.

As a whole, US solar power increased 6.2 gigawatts from 2013 to 2014, a 30 percent jump. The increase could have been even greater if the governments investment in Solyndra did not fail. While the blame for the failure of the $529 million investment has fallen on President Obama, mismanagement in the company also contributed. After the debacle, it became a talking point among Republicans and has prevented the government from investing more into clean energy. Nonetheless, the initiative to move towards solar energy has highlighted a shift in energy production.

Solar energy has extreme potential. Every hour, the sun releases more energy than needed for all of human civilization ever. While it is not possible (at least currently) to harvest all of that energy, we can still capture a good amount of it. The amount of energy created via solar panels varies based on the size/amount of panels but on average, they save $1,000 per household per year. The average solar installation costs between $15,000 and $29,000. A medium-sized installation costs around $20,000.

\[$20,000\div$1,000 per year=20 years\]

The above equation shows that in 20 years, you would make back the money invested in solar panels.

If we could harvest (Insert equation finding percent of total energy put out per hour by the sun to power Earth), then we could entirely rely on solar energy. All in all, solar energy is something that can be useful in many parts of the world. While the initial investment may be costly, it ends up paying off. Plus, it has a very positive effect on the environment compared fossil fuels.

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