With two-thirds of this planet’s human population living in cities by the year 2050, how can we sustain our environment rather than wrecking it? Obviously, the way we get and use energy will matter more than ever, simply because billions of people’s daily lives will depend on it.

Cities have no choice but to integrate renewable energy into their landscapes in order to both survive and thrive in the coming years.

Solar power is going to take the lead– even in places that don’t seem so sunny. The solar industry is currently being built up to handle an increasing demand, and technology is making it possible to deploy solar power in many ways.

Today, we’re used to thinking of big solar panels on rooftops, but the solar panels of the future will be transparent and mounted on the windows of buildings, thus capturing more sunlight than before. Furthermore, solar cells are being optimized to take advantage of the light that’s available to them.
For instance, in cloudy climates, solar cells can be made to utilize longer wavelengths, in order to effectively harness enough light to be productive.

Remember when people first had giant satellite dishes to receive TV signals? Over time, they became a lot smaller and more compact. That’s happening with things like wind turbines, too. Smaller, lighter, more efficient wind turbines of the future will be built into and onto buildings to capture the wind and turn it into energy. Even right now, this sort of thing is happening: The Eiffel Tower in Paris has recently been fitted with two wind turbines.

Whether it’s wind or solar power, one thing’s for sure: we’re moving away from polluting energy sources, and moving toward a planet where clean energy rules. That’s a great thing.

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Since solar power is fairly new to most people, questions arise about the details such as, “Will it work with a steep roof or a flat roof?” or “What if I don’t want panels on my roof– are there other options?”

In Madison, Wisconsin, a solar demonstration project exists to test out solar panel designs, directions and angles with a focus on figuring out what works best in northern climates like Wisconsin, where it’s more likely to snow in the winter than, say, Texas.

Solar panels capture sunlight and convert it to electricity which can then run the many appliances and gadgets in a home like TVs, computers and washing machines.

Since states in the southern part of the USA are well-known for their sunny climates, solar panels have become quite prevalent in places like Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and California. So what’s next for the industry as a whole? The idea is to adjust panels as needed in order to meet the electrical needs of people in the Midwest as well as places far north like Minnesota and Maine.

Overall, solar panels are like most technologies: over time they become more efficient as more people work toward developing smaller, better, faster models that improve on the generation that came before them.

There’s definitely a move away from coal-supplied energy in America and abroad. Solar power is emerging as a major player in the world for supplying people with energy to run their homes and businesses. After all, the sun is an amazing natural resource, and the technology to harness its rays to create electricity has arrived. Now researchers just have to figure out how to make the panels as efficient as possible so that even on cloudy or snowy days they’re still “up to par” with what people expect.

By the way, at the solar demonstration project in Wisconsin, there are solar carports with electric-vehicle charging stations. You’ll also find special “solar trees,” whereas panels are mounted on curved steel structures that look like trees or flowers! The day could come where everything is powered by the sun.