On Sept. 8, a solar innovation report was released after President Joe Biden announced that climate change is “everybody’s crisis” following the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.
According to the Associated Press, solar energy has the potential to supply up to 40 percent of the nation’s electricity within 15 years but would require massive changes in U.S. policy, as well as billions in federal investing.
“It is very important for us to switch off of gas and oil, and that can be done in many ways,” said Dr. Jennifer Mattei, Department of Biology.
Renewable energy sources, such as solar power, have the possibility to take over for other energy sources like fossil fuels or nuclear energy.
“Renewable energy is energy that won’t run out,” said junior Jill Amari, President of the Environmental Club and Copy Editor of The Spectrum. “Because it comes from natural sources like sunlight, wind, or water, it is consistently replenished and can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”
Some students have discussed the positives and negatives of this issue.
“The pros of solar power is that it will reduce your monthly bills, solar panels will increase your property value and clean up our air, and solar panels will help keep your home powered during blackouts,” said senior Bailey Marzec. “The negatives are that they don’t work at night, they aren’t attractive, you can’t install a home solar system yourself, and having to pay for them.”
In addition, renewable energy sources must be stored properly for future usage.
“Some environments have higher sources of wind than others,” said Mattei. “Renewable energy means it is available to us to capture and we have to come up with better ways to capture and store it.”
The switch to solar power will not be free.
“With the new stimulus package proposed by Biden, the switch to wind and solar energy by 2035 may be possible. However, we cannot over tax people but try to get investments from new companies and technologies to fund resources of energy instead of relying on only federal tax,” said Mattei.
While the investment may be costly, some students have already felt the effects of climate change on their health.
“I have asthma and am susceptible to asthma attacks in places with high pollution,” said Amari. “Over the years, I’ve noticed that the frequency of wildfires and greater air pollution has affected the severity of my asthma attacks. In the future, I see this trend continuing for all people who have health issues.”
For solar power to become a reality by 2035, small scale changes need to happen alongside large-scale ones, including within the Sacred Heart University community.
“Everybody can help with this environmental problem,” said Mattei. “Everything from reducing use of gasoline to planting trees on campus helps. There’s lots we can do on campus to make our buildings more efficient. I would encourage SHU students to get more involved in making our campus more sustainable and resilient.”