by Richard Perez
This essay aims to dispel common and enduring misunderstandings about solar energy and show that this resource can deliver an abundant, reliable, and affordable energy future to New York State with a minimum environmental footprint.
Abundance: The sun is a giant energy resource for planet earth. It reliably powers the weather and life without us paying much attention to it. The planet receives as much solar energy in two hours as used annually by all the economies of the world. In one week, the planet receives as much solar energy as the combined reasonably assured reserves of coal, oil, natural gas and uranium could ever produce.
A practical facet of solar abundance is the availability of the technology that can effectively tap into the solar resource and transform it into a usable form: electricity. This technology is photovoltaics, or PV for short. Remarkably, the amount of PV deployed in the world has grown at a nearly constant annual rate of 30% since the 1980s, spanning a wide range of economic and political environments.