About 26 months ago, Bill Gates drew much derision and sarcasm for his comments on solar power, solar panels and solar investments after labeling them as “cute” but not effective energy options for the long haul. Somewhere along the line, the Microsoft mogul must have experienced an extensive change of heart, as the world’s leading philanthropist disbursed grant money to eight universities in 2011 to develop a toilet powered by solar panels that turns human waste into an energy source. Last August, Gates awarded Caltech $100,000 for the design it produced. To date, he has handed out $6.5 million for what he has named the “Reinvent the Toilet Challenge,” which he hopes will vastly improve sanitation practices not only for third-world nations but also for the entire planet.
The Benefits of Solar Power
Every hour, the sun’s rays beam down on our planet, producing enough energy to supply the entire globe’s needs for 365 days, yet only recently have significant funds been distributed for solar investments and the use of solar power entered into mainstream consciousness. This new trend is a result of a public awareness of the many rewards of solar power:
- It alters the dynamic between energy consumers and producers by possibly having utility companies pay families for producing excess energy.
- Homeowners can receive tax credits from the government for using solar power.
- It’s outstanding for the environment, as solar energy does not emit carcinogens, and solar panels are very unobtrusive in regard to placement.
- New solar-energy companies are expanding and introducing jobs to a struggling economy.
- The United States would not need to maintain alliances with other nations to import energy sources, and those dollars could be reinvested in the nation’s own economy rather than heading abroad.
There Are More People Than You Think Using Solar Panels in Their Residences
Many Hollywood heavyweights have taken up various political, social, economic and environmental causes over the last decades. Here are several that have hopped on the solar-power bandwagon:
- Johnny Depp: this pirate’s island home operates entirely on hydrogen solar panels.
- Julia Roberts: with the tenacity of Erin Brockovich, Roberts ensured her Malibu home incorporated solar panels along with many other environmentally friendly features.
- Daryl Hannah: her residence in the Rocky Mountains completely relies on solar power.
- Rachel McAdams: this Canadian beauty is passionate about renewable energy sources and installed solar panels in her abode.
Even if you’re not a billion-dollar software innovator like Bill Gates, the recent affordability of this technology should not go unnoticed. Whether you’re interested in saving the environment or just want to save a few dollars in energy costs, incorporating solar power in your home or business could be a smart investment.
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