It’s a Wonderful Life with solar, but what if photovoltaics never came along?

It’s a Wonderful Life with solar, but what if photovoltaics never came along?

Every home and business that installs solar panels on their site benefits as part of the solar revolution. Clean energy “power plants” are spreading across our neighborhoods. Solar PV constitutes the most popular renewable system. But what if all this didn’t exist?

Let’s imagine a world without photovoltaics. No roof-mounted arrays set up on top of buildings, no systems placed on the ground in backyards or wide-open fields, no cells to power satellites, road signs, or even handy solar recharging calculators. 

Hang on for a journey into a bizarre world where solar innovation never came about.

The path to clean air and climate stabilization fading

In the reality that we know, experts are praising solar as the top method to deliver energy while fighting global warming. Attainable targets rely on constructing lots of solar facilities fast. All we need is a lot more solar panels, investors, and a trained, motivated solar industry and workforce to deploy them. Establishing many dozens of new solar panel manufacturing factories in the next few years offers a good chance to avert more catastrophic climate change.

In other words, defossilizing our energy worldwide looks awfully tough in a world without solar. That solar-free scenario would mean more frequent and stronger storms, wildfires, and floods, and mass migration, famine, and sickness would become the widespread global norm. 

Solar can even help solve other problems, like cleaner air for the sake of public health and preventing asthma, allergy, and lung disease cases. Without renewable energy, these public health problems will worsen as our air becomes more polluted.

Economically, solar is offering a means to develop degraded or polluted brownfields like landfills. Absent solar, these places languish in idleness and landowners lose wealth-building opportunities, while ecologically there’s a big climate problem with fewer solutions. 

Workers deprived of fulfilling solar jobs, and no solar companies to challenge the norm

Now on a path to 400,000 jobs by 2030, the solar industry is booming. But the technology that created so many rewarding and well-paying careers would be absent in this scenario. In our world, new solar capacity is set to quadruple between 2020 and 2030, but on an earth without solar, there would either be less energy available or the energy would be produced using coal or gas, or through new nuclear facilities. 

While wind and nuclear energy permitting and development might speed up, it takes years for costs to come down, as solar prices have. Solar has the advantage of being considered both abundant and safe, leading to fewer detractors and wider access. 

The effects ripple out even farther when we consider the good work that would be lost without the larger organizations that form through solar technology. Thriving solar companies across the country created the Amicus Solar Cooperative, without which we wouldn’t know what a diverse but related group of solar contractors and commercial partners can do for climate impact, or even what such a thing looks like.

It may sound like a small miracle: in such a competitive industry that’s been threatened by big public-held corporations in the past, Amicus leaders and executives are sharing knowledge and even admitting missteps to each other in order to learn and do better for clients, staff, and the planet.

Helping communities and people facing difficult times

Without innovative solar tech, people living in areas with a lack of power, crippling utility bills, climate disaster zones, and third-world countries wouldn't have the life-saving and money-saving solution that solar energy brings.

The promise of community solar to bring diverse purchasers together to save money on energy wouldn’t exist, leaving even more citizens strapped by their utility bills and missing out on the clean energy movement.

No doubt the story of solar deployment in communities around the world is full of examples where solar technology makes a staggering difference in lives, from powering personal water filtration to a lantern for studying or working at night in a non-electrified home. 

Where could we find a better alternative to utility energy than owning solar?

To many owners of solar energy systems, it means more than just a lot of silicon, metal and wires boxed up to produce current. It represents reaching toward freedom from solely using a grid that’s largely still non-renewable. Going solar is an action that solar makes your energy yours, not utility-generated.

Customer-owned solar is at the middle of a bigger revolution where it's interplaying with storage, electric transportation and more bottom-up everything, from home composting waste to 3D printing.

Moreover, paired with battery storage, it’s a vital solution for storm preparation and greening your footprint. Without the ability to produce your own power and store it for use in an outage, many people would be stuck without lifesaving medical equipment, clean water, and other vital necessities; not to mention the convenience of lights, refrigeration, and wifi. 

Ready to wake up from the nightmare now?

Thought so! Open your eyes, because thank goodness that world without solar was all a bad dream. 

Every time the Ipsun Solar phone rings, it’s someone needing help going solar, and a PV panel gets a chance to be useful, even loved! And that’s when all of us in the growing field of solar energy get a chance to shine. 

From all of us here at Ipsun, we're wishing you happy holidays filled with light, love, and renewable energy!

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