Oil won't last long, but the sun basically will last forever

Jason RothmanMay 8, 20193840

Solar is the cleaner energy choice and oil won't last forever

In our second piece about why solar is the cleaner and greener energy choice we look at how long oil will last and switching to solar power is better for the climate overall.

Oil won't last long, but the sun basically will last forever

Current global oil supplies will only last another 41 years. Experts from BP claim it will be more like 53.3 years. Either way, fossil fuels like oil will run out and nations will need to find alternative sources of energy.

Thanks to its availability, battles over who controls or owns renewable resources (like sun and wind) are, at least for now, less likely – unlike with fossil fuels. In fact, having a neighborhood powered by community solar array is not only possible, it’s happening right now with community solar gardens popping up across the country.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates the U.S. has enough natural gas to last 84 years while oil is estimated to last between 40 and 50 years. The World Coal Association gives coal 110 years at current production rates. These numbers may fluctuate as nations find new sources of fossil fuels.

Solar and other forms of renewable energy will be around for billions of years until the Earth faces its demise.
New sources of fossil fuels are becoming harder to find. Innovative extraction methods including thermal, gas and chemical note that these methods lead to serious environmental threats. In addition, these methods, while more enhanced and effective are also more expensive.

As technology improves in the renewable energy sector, efficiency rates increase and the cost per watt for installation will fall.

Strengthen the electronic grid with solar power

According to a report from the DOE, electricity disruptions cost the economy about $80 billion annually and endanger public safety and health. Increasing the impact of power outages is the growing interdependence of the electricity infrastructure with communications and information technology, fuels, water, and transportation. Weather is the primary cause for these disruptions.

According to the National Research Council, one way to prevent the continued increase in power outages seen over the past decade is to develop a stronger distributed generation network. Currently, the aging electric grid is straining under increased demand without similar growth in transmission capacity.

Storage plus solar is greener and cleaner than fossil fuels

Electricity generated by fossil fuel power plants is available day and night, whether the sun is shining or the wind is blowing. While it is a reliable and constant source of energy, an aging and increasingly strained distribution network paired with more volatile weather patterns, is leading to more power outages.

The sun is not always shining. Storms, nighttime, shade from trees or buildings, means solar panels are not generating electricity 24/7. However, advances in battery technology are making battery-backed solar systems a reality. With systems like these, solar energy will be accessible whether the sun is shining or not.

In 2012 and 2013, 336 people died from working in the mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction industry. There are also many health hazards caused by fossil fuels – contaminated water, land, and air can lead to respiratory problems, cardiovascular issues, and even cancer. Massive oil spills and natural gas leaks can also wreak havoc on the environment.
Risks posed by solar mostly include threats to biodiversity. Birds and insects may confuse the shining dark surfaces of a solar panel with water surfaces. Insects may end up laying their eggs on the panels, while birds end up hurt or dead as they crash into panels.

Fossil fuel power plants emit pollution into the air and water. These emissions harm community health, especially in the disadvantaged neighborhoods that are near power plants.

Solar and other forms of renewable energy generate electricity without polluting the environment. Thanks to the lack of harmful emissions, there are minimal impacts on public health and safety.

If you want to move into the future and join the solar revolution, or if you want to find out what solar panels are right for you, go to and try our price checker tool. You can see how much a system will cost, and how much you can save over the next 20 years.

For more information relating to going solar, don't forget to visit our solar blog section for more handy guides and articles.

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