Solar Power

Clean Energy Save Lives

It may sound a little dramatic to say that solar power and clean energy have the power to save lives, but if we consider the human costs of fossil fuels that statement suddenly rings true.

Recent tragedies in the Gulf of Mexico and Chilean coal mines illustrate the dangers of fossil fuels not only to those who are directly involved in their production and shipping but to uninvolved citizens as well.

Thousands of Americans saw their livelihoods destroyed as the massive BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico destroyed marine life, polluted water supplies and disrupted businesses completely unaffiliated with the oil industry, such as tourism.

Then over the summer the world watched in horror as 33 coal miners in Chile were trapped underground for months before being rescued. Workers who certainly do not see the six- and seven-figure salaries enjoyed by executives had to endure a terrible trauma in order to produce fossil fuels.

These and dozens of other instances should make all world citizens eager to embrace and encourage commercial solar power on a huge scale. With concentrated solar power technology making more advances every day, the solar industry is rapidly approaching grid parity (the point at which the cost of solar power is equal to that of energy created by fossil fuels). Soon there will be no technological barriers in the way of commercial solar power providing electricity to homes around the world.

Once solar and other forms of clean energy reach grid parity, economics can no longer be held up as a legitimate objection to beginning to wean ourselves off the harmful fossil fuels that have been at the root of disaster after disaster.

But even with the advances of concentrated solar power such as thin film solar cells, multijunction cells and sun-tracking devices, some opponents of solar continue to scoff at its possibilities. Many of these opponents have a vested interest in maintaining the fossil fuel-dependent status quo; they do not have the best interests of the world’s environment or its citizens at heart.

These kinds of conflicts of interest should make us all vigilant consumers of information. It is vital that we research claims whenever possible to ensure that we are getting accurate information and not manipulated facts designed to keep clean energy in the background instead of at the forefront of commercial power where it can potentially save lives.

Wayne Hemrick writes about–clean energy

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