Solar cells could potentially solve the energy crisis. Households could become independent of the power grid or even give power back to the grid. Large businesses could defer much of their energy consumption. Schools could operate more efficiently. Combination solar/electric cars might not need any gasoline at all. Energy companies will be happy to provide incentives such as fixed rate energy over several years in order to incentivize customers, thereby relieving the potential for voluntary and involuntary blackouts. New spray-on solar cell technology may transform the industry.
Appliance companies could sell optional solar packages to defer energy costs. The most energy consumptive appliances are the most logical places to start: air conditioners, water heaters, refrigerators, dishwashers, and washers/dryers. Luckily, solar power is most effective during peak summer energy consumption. Tax incentives already make it more affordable to buy solar panels. Cities and states with power shortages should mandate that new builds include solar panels. People who wish to help the environment should consider adding a few solar panels per year to their homes if they cannot afford tens of thousands of dollars all at once.
Schools, grocery stores, factories, other big businesses (many of whom are asked to shut down for a voluntary blackout during local energy crises to prevent blackouts) could drastically reduce their energy consumption by using solar power. Whole Foods Market has completed its largest-ever installation of solar panels at its distribution center in Cheshire, Connecticut and will use 25% solar power in many of its stores. Mitsubishi electric solar panels will power the San Francisco Food Bank. Other charitable organizations could save valuable money and resources by using solar energy.
Japan’s current solar power generation amounts to less than one percent, but they expect solar energy to fill 50% of their power needs by the year 2030. Germany (a very cloudy country) is slashing its output of greenhouse gases and will likely exceed its goal to have renewable sources supplying a quarter of its energy needs by 2020. Australia’s 10,000 schools are getting solar power under an ambitious plan to slash greenhouse emissions and boost clean energy industries. Australia is forecast to have as many as 1.5 million solar-powered homes by 2015, and 2.25 million by 2020. America should take the hint.