Which Clean Energy is the Most Beneficial?
With environmental concerns at the forefront of discussion in many groups, from private to political, clean, renewable energy is a consistent talking point. Coal and fossil fuels remain a staple of modern infrastructure, but they present two major problems. For one thing, these fuel sources are effectively finite. They also produce CO2, carbon dioxide, which is one of two main contributors to global warming. Clean energy is here, however, and it appears to be making great strides toward a clean and renewable future. The question on the average person’s mind is “which clean energy source is the best for my needs?” Here’s what you need to know.
One of the more engaging factors when deciding to upgrade to clean energy is that of the cost effectiveness of these energy sources. Generally, speaking, solar panels, wind turbines, and hydroelectric generators will save you money in the long run but require a hefty fee upfront. Solar energy saves the least money over time, but it's also the most affordable to install. Furthermore, there are solar panel financing options to decrease the initial cost even further. Hydro generators are more costly to install, but extremely cost effective overall. Wind Turbines fall somewhere in the middle in terms of general cost effectiveness but require a staggering fee to install.
Accessibility is a major issue regarding clean energy sources. Wind Turbines, for example, are absolute behemoths that require a lot of land as a result. For the average consumer, or a small business, turbines are untenable. Solar panels can vary in size but tend to run smaller, making them easily applicable to a variety of situations, both public and private. Hydroelectric generators, on the other hand, require more space than solar panels, but less than turbines. The primary issue with hydro is that it requires proximity to a river, so it only benefits a small number of people.
The efficiency of the harvesting of these energy sources seems to parallel their cost over time. As such, solar panels are the least cost effective over time and are the least efficient. Wind Turbines are more efficient and save the owner even more money over time, and hydro electric is the most efficient and saves the most money in the long run. Solar is the most affordable option at the expense of long term savings. Upgrading to any of these energy sources requires you to sacrifice efficiency for the sake of cost and cleanliness.
Much like efficiency, the cleanliness of these alternative energy sources seem to correspond roughly to their cost., but the relationship is an inverse one, it seems. Solar panels are the least clean energy source, while Turbines seem to be the cleanest form of renewable energy, currently. Solar energy offers convenience in terms of the lower upfront cost and space requirement, but it lags behind in cleanliness. Each of these forms of energy are much cleaner than traditional combustible fuels, however.
Each of these energy sources provides consumers with certain challenges to overcome. For example, solar and wind energy are gathered at the whims of Mother Nature; this means that there can’t be a consistent supply of energy from these sources. Those who can afford the cost and spatial requirements tend to use both wind turbines and solar panels for that reason, and either energy source is extremely limited without the aid of on site storage for excess power. Hydroelectric generators, on the other hand, would have a consistent source of power most of the time, but the issue with hydro is that of the necessary proximity to a river.
When you’ve gathered the necessary data and wish to upgrade to a clean, renewable energy source, you’ll have to weigh your options carefully. The most balanced package is that of solar panels, for the reasons listed above, which is why solar is currently winning the clean energy arms race, if you will, and it’s likely the best fit for your needs.