Everyone is talking about alternative energy sources, from the politicians to the scientists, from the schools to even your neighbors. Solar energy is one of the most promising alternative energy sources, and its presence is growing all around us. So it’s important to understand what this rising energy star is and why you should pay attention to the sun beyond just applying SPF and polarized glasses.

What Exactly Is Solar Energy?
Solar energy is exactly what it sounds like: the energy we can harness from the sun. The sun’s energy comes to us in the form of thermal energy, basically heat, but solar cells collect the thermal energy and transform it into the electricity we use to power our world. Solar cells are typically panels that face the sun to harness as many rays as possible. These cells can power buildings, homes, cars, and now even outdoor appliances! Think of the possibilities: an entire city powered solely from solar energy, down to water heaters, coffee roasters, cars, and watches! Solar energy is really that powerful and versatile.

How Does Solar Energy Help the Environment?
Solar energy has been powering nature since our planet was formed. Every living thing uses it to survive, including human bodies! Plants use the sun’s energy to produce the important nutrients they need to grow and convert carbon dioxide to oxygen; humans use the sun’s energy to produce vitamin D in their bodies.

It is also a clean energy source, meaning solar energy causes no damage to the environment. It doesn’t cause pollution, greenhouse gases, or any threat to ecosystems like other energy sources do. An oil spill can kill entire species and threaten our oceans, but the sun’s energy doesn’t.

Why Should You Pay Attention to Solar Energy?
The sources of energy we use now are not going to last; they are not renewable like solar energy is. Once we run out of the fossil fuels (oils and gas), we will either need to come up with new sources of energy or find ourselves back in the Stone Age without any of our technological advances. Fossil fuels also pollute the air, the water, and the food we need to survive.

And the problems with unclean, nonrenewable sources of energy go beyond our daily lives and our health, they extend to our finances as well. These energy sources are very expensive to extract from the environment and cost a lot to use. Wind and solar energy cost a fraction of the amount and do not cause the same environmental harm.

Switching to solar energy has so many benefits, both for the environment and for our quality of life, that it is no wonder solar energy is receiving so much attention. With an overall healthier world, we may be able to have our technology and our planet co-exist in harmony.