Recent years have witnessed many large-scale commercial buildings and businesses shifting towards taking more responsible stances through efforts to reduce their ecological footprints and take on investment initiatives in renewable energy sources. Among the top trends in green energy sources that commercial businesses are tapping into are the solar panel system as well as wind and geothermal energy. Here is some more information on each of these rising renewable energy alternatives.
#1. Solar Panel Systems
Although solar energy has been developing over the past several decades, recent years are finally seeing a world with the infrastructure to make use of this amazing power source. Just how much energy do solar panel systems provide? Consider that a single kilowatt of solar electricity is the equivalent of 105 gallons of water used, 300 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions and 150 pounds of coal being mined from the earth. If you think that’s cause for celebration, this year will mark the millionth solar power system installation. Between 2008 and 2011, enough solar panel mounting systems were installed to accommodate a 147.3% growth in solar energy generation. Current solar panels are designed to live out a decently lengthy lifespan of between 30 and 40 years weathering the elements. When compared to hydro reservoirs, one of the winning points of solar panel systems is their relatively small land use. Because they can be installed on rooftops and take up relatively little space, solar panels only require 10% of the land that hydro reservoirs take up.
#2. Wind Energy
First developed around 2000 BC, the windmill has made a long journey across history to take its current place, accounting for roughly 6% of the total installed capacity for generating electricity–and that number is continuing to rise. In 2013, a staggering $80 billion dollars were invested into wind energy. Like sunlight, wind is a renewable energy source with potentials that are hardly being taken advantage of. For example, the United States has enough wind to power the entire country–times ten! About 70% of the United States Congressional Districts currently house a wind energy project. The more that number rises, the more self-sufficient the United States becomes!
#3. Geothermal Initiatives
Geothermal energy is natural heat derived from underneath the surface of the earth. The use of geothermal energy is more regionally selective than solar or wind energy, as areas closest to tectonic plate boundaries–such as Iceland and the Philippines– generate the most geothermal energy. These countries produce about 30% of their electricity from geothermal power plants. That figure is pretty impressive when compared to the fact that less than one percent of United States’ electricity is derived that way. In 2010 about 70 countries used geothermal energy for heating purposes, whereas only a handful converted the heat energy to electricity.
The technology surrounding greener renewable energy alternatives that lead to a healthier and self-sustaining planet continue to improve every day. The technology allows using these alternative energy sources to become more and more cost-effective, and therefore practical for a wider range of businesses. Stay tuned into news reports to stay up to date on the latest advancements with green technology and renewable energy. Feel free to share your thoughts!