By Samantha J. Majka
Solar power has been around since the earth has had a sun, and will continue to exist as long as that remains true. In fact, we have been using solar power as long as life as we know it has been in existence.
At the very bottom of the food chain, plants convert sunlight into glucose, therefore converting solar energy into a usable form. This stored energy moves up the food chain as the plants are eaten by animals, and those plants and animals are eaten as well. What this means is that all life is powered and sustained by solar energy.
We use solar power to warm our homes, by opening the windows and letting the sunlight stream through. We use it to heat our swimming pools, to cook food, and, at the very least, to see. Solar power is nothing new—but the way that we are able to use and apply it to our everyday lives has changed dramatically in recent history.
In ancient times, houses were constructed into the side of hills and mountains to use the heat that was stored from sunlight during the day, and released after sunset. Fast forward to the late 1800’s, and a solar powered steam engine was created, along with the first solar powered water heater, and an early version of photovoltaic cells.
The price of these new inventions was too high to be feasible for use by the masses. However, following the trends of all forms of technology, the price decreased over time. Today, solar power as we know it has become more affordable, and continues to become a more viable option for homeowners everywhere.
The entire world is taking notice. Germany leads the way with a goal to be powered by completely renewable power sources by 2050, and many other European countries are following suit. The United States has seen explosive growth in solar installations over the past several years, and with the introduction of the option to lease solar panels with little to no money down, it can only be expected that the number of solar power installations will continue to rise.
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