28 Jan

Future of Power Generation – Solar or Coal Fired Power plants?

Electric power is the much-needed energy for industry, household purposes and even to the national economy. It is one of the greatest wonders of science and a great gift to humanity. Modern society is entirely dependent on electricity. Most of the developing countries are concentrating on cost-effective power generation, transmission and distribution for their essential needs.

The global energy is in its early days of transformation. There is a rise in renewable energy generation such as wind and solar power. In the year 2015, 150 GW of new renewables were installed and was a record. By 2020, overall electricity generation from renewables is expected to rise by 50% more than the levels in 2012. Globally, countries are at different stages of renewable energy transformation, and they individually face challenges in balancing the role of coal power in their own ecosystems. In other regions, governments are developing various methods of focusing on how they will be shifting energy usage to fulfill their demands and commitments.

As we know, coal is an abundant fossil fuel on earth and widely used in thermal power stations. It is impure and produces greenhouse gas and causes more pollution than an equivalent amount of petroleum or natural gas would cause. Though coal has been a reliable source of energy for a long time, it comes with a huge cost because it is harmful to the environment. The same chemistry that enables coal to produce energy also produces a lot of hazardous pollutants that harm the ecosystem. With air pollution and global warming being two most pressing problems currently, we cannot sustain the energy produced from coal for a long time.

When we look at the ill effects of coal power plants, we can observe the following things.

  • Coal plants are responsible for mercury emissions, a toxic heavy metal that damages the nervous system, digestive system, and immune system. It is also a serious threat to child development.
  • Sulfur dioxide is produced when the sulfur in coal reacts with oxygen. These SO2 combines with other molecules in the atmosphere and forms small acidic particles, which can penetrate human lungs.
  • Nitrous oxides are visible as smog and irritate lung tissue, increase asthma and make people more prone to chronic diseases like pneumonia and influenza.
  • Soot, an ashy grey substance in coal smoke is formed. This soot is linked with chronic bronchitis, asthma, cardiovascular effects, and premature death.
  • Of Coal’s numerous ecological effects, none are as unsafe, long term and irreversible as global warming. Global warming is driven by emissions of gases, primarily from human activities that rise into the atmosphere and becomes a blanket, warming the earth’s surface.

Coming to the Solar Power Plant, photovoltaic panels are used to harvest the energy of the sun to generate electricity. Currently, solar power is a growing renewable energy sector worldwide, with considerable expansions in contribution to the grid over the last few years. Most of the industrialized nations have installed significant solar power capacity into the grids to supplement an alternative to conventional energy. Also, an increasing number of underdeveloped countries have turned to solar to become independent on the expensive fuels imported for power generation. A solar panel or solar power plant is the primary and best way to save energy in behalf of electricity.

Solar energy creates clean, renewable power from the sun and helps in the well-being of the environment. Alternatives to fossil fuel reduce carbon footprint by reducing greenhouse gases on earth. The significant part of the electricity generated in the world originates from non-renewable energy sources like coal and natural gas. Separating and utilizing fossil fuels is costly and unsafe for the environment. Also, solar energy is free and readily abundant, and if we can use all of the sun’s energy shining on earth for an hour, we can power the entire world for a year. By investing in solar, we can also help reduce our dependency on fossil fuels in favor of the most abundant, consistent source of energy that is available to us.

Generating electricity with solar power instead of non-renewable sources will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, mainly CO2. Greenhouse gases produced when fossil fuels are burnt can lead to an increase in global temperatures and climate changes. By going solar, we can reduce the demand for fossil fuels, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and shrink the carbon footprint.