We often come across the suggestion that we should never put all our eggs in one basket, it holds true for many arenas in life. Generation of electricity is another such area where the suggestion fits perfectly.There are various sources of energy that we use from coal, natural gas and nuclear-powered plants, and solar energy. There is a spur in solar energy going on globally.
Look at Virginia, 744 megawatts of solar power plants are either in operation or being developed. A 20 megawatt solar power generation went online last November in Fauquier County. Another 125 acre solar farm will provide energy to power at least 5,000 homes.
New projects have been proposed or approved in Fredericksburg region. Near the end of December a 333-acre solar farm went online at King George County with 20 megawatts capacity of solar power.
A Utah-based company is interested in building one of the largest solar facilities in Spotsylvania County. It will turn 3,500 acres of mostly timberland near Fawn Lake into a 500-megwatt solar energy farm.
It was found in a survey that around 29,423 homes in Virginia are using solar energy. Though, this accounts even for less than 1 percent of all the electricity generated in the commonwealth.
The numbers are going to change because there will be a number of solar farms under development in Fredericksburg region, Virginia’s Historic Triangle, Middle Peninsula and Tidewater regions.
Solar panels produce clean electricity directly from sunlight. They add to the diversity of the types of fuels that are used to power the grid.Every energy source comes with its own set of drawbacks, and solar energy has not been untouched.
The solar industry was high subsidized until Congress absolved them in a tax reform signed by President Trump. The bill retained the 30 percent solar investment tax credit for home owners and commercial developers, it will reduce to 10 percent by 2022.
We can’t forget those farmlands that are being repurposed into solar farms. They cannot be used to grow crops again. About 42 million acres of agricultural land has been lost in America from 1982. Farm Bureau suggests that we will need 70 percent more food production by 2050 to feed the world. Taking out more farmland will make it harder to reach the goal.
Experts also say that “Solar energy is not always green”
A large scale solar plant can use around 400 million gallons of water during installation and additional 7 million gallons every year to clean the panels. The manufacturing process of solar panels release hazardous wastes of heavy metals like lead, cadmium telluride and silicon tetrachloride and even ozone depleting substances.
The risks have to be managed well by using other renewable sources as well. For now, more and more solar farms will get developed every day somewhere in the world.