People seem to come alive as soon as the sun comes out. Especially during such a long winter, accompanied by a global pandemic, it is incredible to see how happy people are when they are out in the sun for a while. This is not new, though; the Sun has been the center of societal worship since the beginning of humankind, and rightfully so.
Today, we celebrate Solar Appreciation Day – the perfect opportunity to appreciate all of the great developments in solar technology in the face of energy transformation and climate change. On this occasion, we want to highlight five reasons why we love solar power, especially for sustainable digital infrastructure.
- It’s carbon-low electricity
Let’s start with the obvious one. Solar power is low in carbon emissions. After a panel is initially produced, it can generate electricity for 20 years without emitting carbon dioxide. Work is being done to develop the technology even further, making it more efficient and able to operate for longer periods of time. A key challenge that is also currently being addressed is freeing the production from carbon emissions as well as ensuring proper reusing and recycling of solar panels. That’s good for the climate, for the planets, for wallets, and much more.
- It’s cheap
Solar power is one of the cheapest forms of electricity production today. A study from the Fraunhofer-Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE) has found the prices will vary between 4-6 cents/kWh in southern and central Europe by 2025, which will further reduce to between 2-4 cents/kWh by 2050. Compare this to new gas and coal fired plants ranging from 7-11 cents/kWh. It’s mind boggling when considering how 25 years ago, people doubted that prices could ever be low enough to build solar at scale.
- You can put it on your roof
Solar does take up some space, but in most cases you can simply put it on your roof. It doesn’t matter if you can cover your electricity supply with it completely. Every bit helps, and data centers often have more than just a bit of roof surface. So, use your free space for a sustainable impact.
- You can operate and cool your IT equipment with the help of solar power
Data centers need additional electricity for cooling, especially during hot middays in warm locations. But you know what's also around during hot middays? The sun! Solar power produces the most energy when data centers need it the most: when the load is high and the weather is hot. Take advantage of it.
- It’s the most direct way to generate electricity
With the exception of geothermal and nuclear, all other energy comes from our sun no matter what source of electricity you use. Wind, biomass, fossil fuels, hydropower – it is all based on solar radiation that struck earth at some point in time and transformed into organic matter, moving air or evaporating water. Every hour more energy from the sun hits earth than humanity needs for the whole year. So why not save the hassle, follow the quickest process and harness solar power directly?
Solar power brings significant advantages and enormous potential that is just waiting to be exploited. Surely there is not one solution to our climate and sustainability crises, but we are certain solar power will develop further, resolve existing challenges, and secure its position as one of the primary energy sources of the future. And given solar’s historical and natural significance, the irony is not lost.
Within our Roadmap to Sustainable Digital Infrastructure by 2030, the Activity of “Consume Renewable Power” plays a key role. Check it out, and reach out to us if you want to contribute to creating a more sustainable future.