Celebrating Sun: Solar Energy and the Equinox

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This Wednesday, March 20 is the equinox, 7:02am Eastern Daylight Time marking our long-awaited transition from winter into the longer, warmer days of spring.

Seasonal equinoxes are determined by bi-annual galactic occurrences when the tilt of Earth relative to the sun is set at ‘zero’, represented by the axis of the planet pointing neither toward, nor away from, the sun. The word equinox according to the Almanac comes from the Latin words aequus (equal) and nox (night), representing the equal lengths of night and day that occur at these calendar markers.

Light and energy from the sun allows for the very existence of all animal and plant life. It is also the pillar of one of our most exciting (and under-used) power energy sources.

The earth receives about 1,366 watts of direct solar radiation per square meter; it has been estimated that the total surface area required to power the world with solar energy is only around 366,375 square kilometers. Despite the abundance of viable energy coming from above us, solar energy production currently only accounts for less than one tenth of one percent globally.

“Every hour the sun beams onto Earth more than enough energy to satisfy global energy needs for an entire year.” –National Geographic

A major industry report by Clean Energy Group and SmartPower in 2009 indicated that four primary barriers were slowing the widespread adoption of solar energy: cost, complexity, misinformation, and inertia. Luckily, the components of these blockages are becoming increasingly diluted with the expansion of the industry and its supporters. Four years later experts are expecting the solar industry to grow 20-40% per year for the next 10 years, as more private homes and businesses discover the practicality and immensity of this exciting energy resource and governments continue to encourage the switch to solar with energy credits and solar ROIs. Today, every U.S. state offers the Federal solar tax credit and in some areas, as much as 90% of the cost of a home solar array can be offset by rebates and solar energy credits. (Solar Energy Facts)

Solar energy is an essential means of energy production as it is fully natural and without the negative environmental impacts of other sources such as coal—upon which we are still largely dependent. With dwindling fossil fuel resources and climate change looming in our not-so-distant futures, it is more important than ever to realize the importance of harnessing more ethical means of energy generation.

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