Solar energy production represents an exciting opportunity to turn the tide from fossil fuel heavy fuels which are not renewable, to the renewable energy provided by the sun. The reason there is so much potential for growth in these renewables is because of our ability to advance and improve solar energy production through the use of technology. Advancements within new technologies provides the ability to lower production costs, store the energy produced for longer periods of time without substantial loss, transport the product across longer distances, and produce the product with less environmental impact. The ability to identify softness in the process and improve it with technological advances creates a landscape of infinite possibilities for new energy.
The “alternative energy” industry was born from the necessity to reduce pollution and lessen the environmental impact from the burning of fossil fuels. The traditional methods of turning turbines to create electricity involved burning coal, wood or oil and ultimately resulted in electricity for public consumption at the cost of more pollution and greater environmental damage. The debate as to the extent of this damage is actually a monetary discussion, one involving the amount that people would be willing to pay for the exact same product to be manufactured in a “cleaner” way. Essentially, the wind, sun and flowing water represent a free fuel source that can act as a replacement for the burning of fossil fuels to produce the same energy required. These replacement fuels do not need to be burned to move turbines, and therefore produce no pollution of the environment. They do however cost more to produce the same product of electricity, and as a result consumers must be willing to pay more for this method of “clean energy” production. Unfortunately it is human nature to opt for the lower price system as long as damage cannot be accurately measured, which hinders the technological advancements if governmental funding for research is not available.
Luckily, the private sector is filling the technological gaps that are being slowed by debate in the governments. The ability to manufacture the same product without environmental impact and for a lower price would end all debate on the subject, and smart entrepreneurs are seeing the opportunities that are presenting themselves within renewable energy. One example is the development of advanced surge protection for solar farms. The technology which fuels the devices being developed to prevent surge related damage to solar systems when lightning strikes the exposed panels has improved over the past 20 years, helping provide a safer and more cost effective solution to protect solar power installations. By preventing electrical surges caused by lightning and grid-side events from traveling along power and data lines to damage the sensitive attached equipment, a major source of ongoing cost inflation for solar plant operators is reduced and potentially eliminated. Through this simple concept of utilizing protection measures to reduce predictable damage, steps are being made that will eventually result in the need for the public to pay less per unit for the electricity than traditional methods, opening up new possibilities to advance a new industry to replace an outdated one. The future of energy is bright, and as a result of technology and ongoing improvement it is clean as well.