How Efficient is Solar Compared to Fossil Fuels?

On his first day in office, President Biden signed the U.S. onto the Paris Agreement. The signature represents our commitment to cut greenhouse gas emissions. We pledged to decrease the global temperature by two degrees Celsius based on pre-industrial rates.

Meeting the agreement’s goal requires the U.S. to take significant sustainability measures now. Fortunately, renewable energy sourcing can help us shrink the nation’s carbon footprint. Additionally, Biden’s Build Back Better policy increases funding for clean energy projects, making a nationwide transition possible.

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The Longevity of Power Sources

The expiration date on fossil fuel sources like gasoline renders them inefficient and unsustainable. As fuel expires, companies must continue drilling to sustain rising consumer demands. When gasoline sits, its lighter hydrocarbons evaporate over a few months.

Oxidation additionally degrades gasoline’s efficiency, developing solid gums. If the fossil fuel mixture contains any ethanol, it can absorb humidity when sitting. Water can corrode devices, generating inoperative effects. 

Solar energy is more efficient in its longevity compared to ‘dirty’ energy sources. The non-depletable resource will last as long as the sun shines, for about 4.5 billion years. A panel system’s expiration is the only variable when evaluating our extended solar power access.

Solar energy systems last up to 30 years, 120 times longer than fossil fuel sources. Their consistent power production and distribution over time may increase their general efficiency compared to fossil fuels.

Solar Energy vs Fossil Fuels Efficiency

Fossil fuel efficiency levels vary depending on the source. The average energy efficiency of coal-derived power is 35% on average. Natural gas has the highest rate, reaching nearly 45% and oil-fire has a 38% rate.

Their ability to efficiently convert resources into energy makes fossil fuels one of the most effective power sources. Solar panels convert sunlight into electricity at a lower rate. The average solar efficiency rate ranges between 15% and 25% annually.

Fortunately, we can still meet our residential and commercial electricity needs with solar energy. Utilizing low-power devices and adopting conservation habits can limit our use of fossil fuels known for emitting greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide.

Meeting or Exceeding Needs

The fossil fuel industry holds a significant place in the U.S. government’s hierarchy of power. Corporate gas company owners contribute large profits to the economy, which government officials reward them for. Oil companies use their power stance to generate consumer demands rather than meet them.

Solar energy uses localized sources, only generating the amount of power demanded by residents. With eco-conscious electricity extraction, solar companies can provide power to an entire community.

Residents and business owners can calculate the energy efficiency of their structures and ensure their optimal electricity extraction. You can receive an energy audit or utility bill evaluation for power distribution data. When you unveil your usage patterns, you can adjust your devices and behaviors for energy conservation.

Buildings can support solar power sources by maximizing energy efficiency. A significant portion of electricity supports heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. HVAC systems waste nearly 20% of their energy because of inefficient structures and maintenance.

You can decrease your building’s HVAC power waste by sealing air leaks. Installing a smart thermostat may also increase the energy efficiency of temperature control systems. They use motion sensors and weather detection, maintaining a sustainable temperature in vacant homes.

Reducing sunlight exposure, hot water, and outdated equipment use can further enhance a home’s solar power support.

Cost Efficiency of Solar Energy Compared to Fossil Fuels

Fossil fuels were once the most cost-effective fueling option, driving their global acceptance. Their power generation ranges between $0.05 per kilowatt-hours and $0.18 per kilowatt-hours depending on the source. Solar power prices are at an all-time low, dropping by 82% since 2010.

Today, solar energy costs under $0.05 per kilowatt-hour, making it more cost-effective than fossil fuels. In financial respect, solar power is more efficient than greenhouse gas-emitting energy. Additionally, homeowners who invest in a solar energy system, receive a significant federal tax break, further reducing the price.

Solar panel system owners receive a 22% tax credit from the government following their purchase. They can also sell excess energy generated by solar panels to their state, receiving a passive income.

Read More: New Solar Projects Cheaper Than Coal

The Future of Energy

Biden’s Build Back Better plan will advance the clean energy economy, which is key to fighting climate change. He is additionally investing two trillion dollars into national sustainability changes. We can expect to see a portion of the funds support higher renewable energy sources.

The president also wishes to reach net-zero U.S. emissions by 2050. We can only achieve this goal using solar power and the shift away from fossil fuels. The transition may take time, but a clean energy future lies ahead.

Read More: Coal Country Joins the Solar Shift

Author bio:
Jane works as an environmental and energy writer. She is also the founder and editor-in-chief of

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