March 15th, 2021
Simon Says Start With Why...
Why solar? Why Good Sun and not Good Water or Good Biodiversity? That's a good question. I mean, as far as issues that could be supported through nonprofit work...there's wildlife conservation, pollution, water security, food security, socio-environmental justice, poverty, gender equality, political reform, education for all, healthcare for all, nuclear disarmament, and of course climate change, just to name a few. So why choose solar: something that to most people is just another (for-profit) technology and is therefore deemed to have little direct impact on the issues that most people care about? Let's explore.
In my eyes, the advancement of solar energy is one of the only solutions that can simultaneously address so many other important issues. Here's how: Solar energy is the only viable input to an otherwise closed (and non self-sustaining) system. Particles of sunlight penetrating the Earth's atmosphere constitute the singular external source of energy to our planet, providing the necessary ingredient and catalyst for all of life on Earth. If you don't understand quite what sunlight does for us or how important it is, consider just this one simple fact: If we remove sunlight from the equation, it would take just a few weeks for all life on earth to die off (minus some hypothermophillic bacteria, which would die off soon thereafter). At their basic forms, oil, gasoline, diesel, biomass, wind energy, and even coal are all forms of solar energy (which is a form of thermonuclear energy). Water is purified by sunlight, whether through UV radiation or evapotranspiration. Food obviously needs sunlight (UV radiation) to grow. Humans, whether we choose to believe it or not, need sunlight to stay healthy (and alive). All of life as we know it is made possible by our Sun.
So if the Sun is a precursor to, and necessary component of, all of life on Earth, then why not start with solar energy as a potential solution to many of the problems we are facing? Solar energy, harnessed in the form of technologies such as photovoltaics (PV), thermal collection, UV purification, concentrated solar power (CSP), and passive solar design can provide direct solutions to problems such as:
Certainly there are constraints to the use of solar energy. It is of course not a catch-all solution to all of the problems we're facing. For many years, the founders of Good Sun worked in the for-profit contracting sector of the solar industry. Believe me, we fully comprehend the limitations of solar technology. But we also see the potential of a still-developing technology within an emerging (clean tech) market. One of the major problems with the emerging solar market is the issue of reuse and recycling. This is why Good Sun has adopted a program of repurposing used solar panels to build a bridge between the millions of still-viable solar panels flowing to landfill in the "developed world" and the millions of people still living without electricity in the "developing world". It just makes sense not to waste resources on a finite planet, and help others out while addressing the waste issue. This is why we do what we do: because we want to help others who may be less fortunate and help make the world a better, cleaner place to live at the same time. And this is why we chose solar as our solution: because it's efficient in that this clean tech has the potential to address multiple issues with one tool; the potential to feed multiple birds with one worm. At Good Sun, we, like nature, prefer efficiency.
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