Is Solar Energy Renewable? (What You Should Know)

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Renewable energy is a popular topic in the media these days. As people seek more sustainable alternatives to traditional energy sources, a common question arises: Is solar energy considered renewable? This article will answer that question and explain the critical differences between renewable and nonrenewable energy sources.

What Is the Difference Between Renewable and Nonrenewable Resources?

Renewable Resources

A renewable resource is a natural resource that can be replenished over time through natural processes or human intervention. These resources can regenerate at a rate equal to or faster than their consumption, ensuring their long-term availability for future generations. Here are several examples of renewable resources:

  • Wind energy: Power generated by wind turbines converting the kinetic energy of the wind into electricity.
  • Hydroelectric power: Electricity generated from the movement of water through dams or flowing rivers.
  • Biomass: Organic matter such as plants, wood, and agricultural waste that can be burned for heat or converted into biofuels.
  • Geothermal energy: Heat derived from the Earth's internal heat, used for electricity generation or heating.

There's an upfront cost involved in building renewable energy facilities, but there aren't costs over the long run. This is because these resources are free and abundant.

Nonrenewable Resources 

Nonrenewable resources are natural resources that are characterized by their limited ability to replenish over time. These sources are finite in nature and take millions of years to form through geological processes. They exist in limited quantities and cannot be regenerated fast enough to keep up with consumption. Here are several examples of nonrenewable resources:

  • Fossil fuels: Coal, oil, and natural gas formed from the remains of plants and animals.
  • Minerals: Precious metals (gold, silver) and various ores (iron, copper, aluminum) extracted from the Earth's crust.
  • Nuclear fuels: Uranium and plutonium used in nuclear power plants.

These resources pose complex challenges. When resources get low, prices can suddenly skyrocket. On top of that, we rely on other nations to supply most of these resources, which can be a problem since continuous access to these resources is crucial. As a result, nonrenewable energy sources become highly vulnerable to geopolitical conflicts. An instance of this vulnerability is the Russia-Ukraine conflict, which led to a worldwide doubling of nonrenewable energy prices.

Is Solar Energy Renewable or Nonrenewable?

So, is solar energy renewable? The answer is yes, solar energy is undeniably a renewable source. It harnesses the power of the Sun, which NASA predicts the Sun will be around for another 5 billion years. In just one hour, our planet receives enough solar energy to fulfill the world's energy needs for an entire year, making solar the most abundant renewable resource.

How Can Solar Energy Help the Environment?

Solar energy is not only renewable but also regarded as a "green" energy source due to its environmental benefits. Here's why solar is a greener option compared to nonrenewable resources:

Reduces greenhouse gas emissions: Solar energy helps combat climate change. Unlike nonrenewable sources of energy like fossil fuels, solar power doesn't produce harmful greenhouse gases, like carbon dioxide (CO2), when generating electricity. 

Conserves natural resources: By harnessing the power of the Sun, we can save our precious natural resources. Traditional energy sources rely on mining and drilling for fossil fuels, which damage ecosystems and deplete Earth's resources. Solar energy, on the other hand, allows us to generate electricity without harming the environment or consuming valuable resources.

Get the Best Pricing With Project Solar 

As we mentioned before, renewable energy is much more affordable, unlike traditional energy costs. If you're considering installing solar panels, you'll be glad to know that at Project Solar, our prices are only half of what most people pay nationwide. You can easily find out how much it would cost for you by using our online calculator. If you're curious about how we manage to offer such low prices, you can read about how Project Solar pricing works