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The solar energy vs fossil fuels debate has reached a fever pitch of late. Experts have predicted the near enough extinction of fossil fuels within the next few decades. However, although there will be a shift from fossil fuels in due course, it won’t happen anytime soon. According to energysage, fossil fuels still power most of the planet. Renewable energy sources like solar and wind only contribute 2-3 percent of global energy needs.

Notably, solar power is a more environment-friendly source of energy. It’s debatably a more rounded and sustainable source. Costs and other factors play a key role in energy successes, however. U.S. government subsidies play a pivotal role in shaping the growth potential for renewable energy. Therefore, comparing numbers between solar and fossil fuels in the ongoing solar energy vs fossil fuels debate can be extremely difficult.

a photo of a black-and-white Earth with a note that says "2-3%" on top of it, in relation to the debate on solar energy vs fossil fuels

Other Details on Solar Energy vs Fossil Fuels

The G20 nations agreed to begin phasing out fossil fuels in 2009. However, this case appears to be plodding along on the back burner, as fossil fuels are still proving effective. According to the Oil Change International report, the G20 makes up more than 85 percent of global GDP. They also spend $452 billion a year to subsidize fossil fuels. Markedly, the United States is the largest user of fossil fuels in the world. President Trump is likely to ensure American energy continues the same course of heavy fossil fuel subsidization.

In truth, solar power is subject to the investment tax credit, which covers 30 percent of any residential solar installation. The commercial sector will receive a permanent 10 percent tax credit, and technology advancements have seen lower costs. It means solar energy has the potential to be the cheaper of the two energy sources. On the other side of the fence, oil, gas, and coal are fossil fuels which need to be mined then nurtured to market. Solar energy is generated by developing technology to capture the renewable energy source. It’s not a fuel within itself. Experts have said that costs will continue to fall as technology becomes more advanced.

On the Rise of Solar Energy: Hurdles and Bold Steps

Energy companies are today developing solar PV projects that can deliver energy at half the cost of coal. The uptake is slower than originally predicted but is set to take off as natural resources become scarce. Solar can easily be installed on any surface to harnesses an already available resource. By comparison, fossil fuels require mining and then nurturing to market which can cause many negative environmental impacts. The only real negative to solar energy is that it hasn’t received universal acceptance yet. Governments must also invest in energy storage solutions to capture the energy that solar panels can harvest.

Still, the solar industry is taking bold steps toward overcoming these hurdles. Advanced research and development techniques are being discovered to improve PV hardware. More effective and efficient energy storage solutions are being developed. Moreover, governments are moving more toward adopting solar technology on a wider scale. Until this ideal can be achieved, fossil fuels will most definitely dominate the energy industry.

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