What does it mean to be sustainable? Webster defines the word as: “Sustainable – adjective – sus· tain· able | \sə-ˈstā-nə-bəl \ Definition of sustainable
1: capable of being sustained 2a: of, relating to, or being a method of harvesting or using a resource so that the resource is not depleted or permanently damagedsustainabletechniquessustainable agriculture
b: of or relating to a lifestyle involving the use of sustainable methods // sustainable society.
It should be obvious that as the dominant species on this planet, we should all be somewhat concerned with the sustainability of our practices – if only for future generations chances of having a successful life. It is a fact that if the human race extinguishes all natural resources we will cease to exist. So no matter what your views on the myriad of complex issues that sustainability can cover, I would like to focus on electricity in this writing.
Electricity is the form of energy that makes almost all of our daily lives possible. Each of our lights, cell phones, televisions, computers/laptops, refrigerators, most air conditioners, and even a good portion of cars now use electricity every day (almost all modern cars use electricity to start!). Your coffee maker, stove, heater, dishwasher, and most other daily items in our work and home can also be electric. The average person never even thinks about how they power their daily life – or where their power is generated! I’d like to think that no matter what your reasons, opinions, desires, plans or background, my content will help convince you that solar power is beneficial to you. Solar WILL save you money on electricity. Solar electricity takes the power from a utility company and puts the cost of your monthly needs in your control. Solar power is sustainable, and if you partner with the best provider, your system will function without issue from day one, for more than 25 years!
One of the first considerations in going solar for most people is not how much carbon will I offset or how many trees will be saved by my going solar – but simply how much does it cost? I’m here to promise you that it’s less than most people think! Going solar with the best provider will still only cost around the same amount as you CURRENTLY pay for power every month. The cost of electricity has never gone down over any significant yearly time period in United States history! Yet solar has now become more cost-effective to the average person than remaining with their power company. Your electricity goes up and you won’t get back any of the money spent over the years.
The causes of this increase are always a topic of debate. Depending on whom is asked, the reason you now pay more than ever before will be one of a hundred different answers. I would like to cover the facts, and let you decide if staying with the power company is going to end up costing you more than owning your own solar power system…or other alternative renewable supplement for power.
1) Most states are growing in population. According to the Census Bureau’s decennial census, we Americans have added approximately 3,300,000 people EVERY year. Most of these people are not living without electricity! Anyone who has been involved in the real estate market can attest that in most states, more and more houses are being built and there is no shortage of people to live in them. The growth we are experiencing and have experienced has caused a demand for electricity that is higher than ever before – which costs more money for the grid to create more power.
2) Inflation. Economic collapses excluded, our money historically inflates. This increase in the amount of money it takes to buy the same thing in a few years causes most of your utility payments to steadily increase. We pay more dollars for the same product in service as time passes.
3) New electronics and electric vehicles (Commonly called EV’s). Over the past 5 years, nearly all of us use more electronic devices than ever before. I still remember the day when I carried nothing electric in my pocket other than some static electricity! Now, it is impractical to not have a cell phone with a charged up battery in your pocket as you leave home each morning. Laptop computers are another major daily device that many people use each day. Some of us even carry backup batteries with us to replace or charge the ones in our devices. These devices don’t consume major amounts of electricity, yet added up over millions of us who own and use them daily, it has created a higher amount of electricity needed for all of our daily lives. Another major change is the increase in electricity used for transportation. Both public transit and private vehicles are being built which are fully electric. The fact is that the resources to create and ability to recycle most parts of EV’s make them far superior in the long-run. Whatever your thoughts on pollution, there is no denying that having a fraction of the moving parts on a vehicle creates a far more simple solution to transportation needs.
4) Transition to sustainable power. The U.S. federal government has thankfully helped push along the power revolution, setting into place various policies to help us stop using limited resources like coal and gas to create power, and transfer to sustainable energy like wind and solar. Thankfully, many states are leading the way, yet there is a cost associated with implementing and building new power generation sources for these means – which ends up being a part of the reason costs for electricity must increase. Again, no matter what your political views, there are a lot of reasons to support solar power. Using solar generated electricity benefits us because it: creates local jobs, decentralizes and provides more security for our infrastructure, creates predictable and clean power, and lowers our dependence upon the political agreements of other countries to supply us energy.
– Joshua “Sunshine” Hill