From air and water pollution to rising tides that threaten coastal cities and island nations, the effects of unclean energy are widespread and well-known. In response, scientists, activists, governments, and even regular enterprising civilians have proposed several solutions and alternatives to fossil fuels, from wind energy to nuclear energy, to solar energy.
There are many alternatives to traditional sources of energy, but their side effects are not quite as well known as the side effects of fossil fuels. Today we hope to shed some light on what might happen if humanity began to lose its reliance on fossil fuels and switch to one of the viable alternatives: solar energy.
Side Effect #1: New Infrastructure
The most common for harvesting the sun’s energy is through solar panels. Part of what it will take to complete any meaningful conversion from our current dependence on fossil fuels to solar energy is creating and installing a vast amount of solar infrastructure.
Homeowners will need to invest in the best solar generator to embrace this new form of energy production. Society will also need businesses, stores, warehouses, and others to make a full commitment to infrastructural changes.
Understanding the need for the thoughtful placement of this new infrastructure relates directly to the second side effect: changes to how we think about land.
Side Effect #2: Land & Solar Power
One unusual property of solar power is how it is affected by land. Land of a particular type, in a specific climate, is preferable for harvesting and usage of this kind of fuel, as opposed to other power types which can, in theory anyway, be gathered equally efficiently without regard for climate conditions.
The land requirement means that it’s better to research and select which land works best for solar energy gathering rather than just placing as many panels as possible anywhere. Numerous government agencies have already begun researching their lands to be maximally efficient in land use planning for solar power.
As solar power becomes more commonplace, it will likely change how land usage is viewed and operates in the United States and beyond.
Side Effect #3: Energy Independence
Given the land required to power solar systems, it will likely propel a movement toward energy independence. Many thousands of households are switching to sun-generated energy every year, thanks to governmental efforts supporting this transition.
As this wellspring of power becomes cheaper and more accessible, more and more families will inevitably choose to stop depending on dirty fossil fuels and external energy providers. It’s the next step in being fully sustainable and self-reliant.
As we begin to approach the end of the age of fossil fuels, society will begin to undergo more dramatic shifts than we’ve already seen. But the side effects can help protect the environment, change how we think about land and water, and build more self-reliance. Switching to solar can have more effects than we can fully anticipate, but for now, the outlook is promising.