- Greenhouse gas emissions are not generated with solar electricity.
- Homes with solar panels are not as dependent on the "electricity grid" for power
- Panels are getting cheaper and are easier to install
- Panels are silent, no moving parts, and require less maintenance than turbines
Germany is the leading nation in the world for solar power. They have a capacity to generate 30 gigawatts of energy compared to the US's 6.4 gigawatt capacity. Sunlight is not the issue. In fact, the amount of sunlight in Germany is equivalent to Alaska. How do they do it? The German government has set up a "feed in tariff" where people can sell back the excess energy harnessed by home units back to the power companies. This is reducing the costs of power to the entire country. Also the government has provided subsidies to companies in the area of renewable energy which has driven the cost of equipment down. According to the March edition of the Valley News, Germany is now delaying plans to build a new nuclear plant and has closed some small plants due to the increase of energy coming from homes.
Why not do more here in Mississippi? According to the Mississippi power website, the lack of sunlight and cost of equipment make the idea of solar power unaffordable. They estimate a full home system would cost about $100,000 and that it would take 18 years for a homeowner to get a return on investment. Lack of state subsidies and incentives keep the costs high.
But you do not have to get a full home system to benefit from solar power. Small devices can be purchased like solar powered yard lights, flood lights, pool heaters and cell phone chargers. You can find solar yard lights at Walmart!
As people vote for more subsidies and tax incentives, Mississippi can join the ranks of California, New Jersey, Virginia, Arizona, Nevada and Colorado. There can be less pollution from large power plants in the air, rivers and deltas when the state requires power companies to have a percentage of their power from renewable sources. It's working across the country and around the world.