Going solar is financially beneficial, and it’s great for the environment!
Solar panels have no carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, one of the main contributors to climate change. Since the industrial revolution, the burning of fossil fuels like coal and oil have increased the concentration of CO2 in our atmosphere by approximately 30%. Over time, the rise of CO2 has significantly impacted the Earth’s natural atmospheric greenhouse system. Higher temperatures worldwide are leading to a warming oceans, rising sea levels, diminishing glaciers, floods in certain parts of the world, and extreme droughts in others.
Solar panels generate emission-free energy for about 25 to 35 years. For the average homeowner that means that going solar can eliminate the emissions created by one or more cars that drives 18,000 miles per year—a tremendous environmental benefit.
Solar energy is renewable, abundantly available, cost-effective and efficient alternative energy source. The sun has been producing power for over 4 billion year, and is expected to be available and accessible across the world for the foreseeable future, while other traditional energy sources may be completely depleted. The more people use solar, the greater the technology becomes, increasing efficiency and reducing costs for all.
MANUFACTURING & DISPOSAL
One of the main concerns for considering the overall net-environmental effect of switching to solar energy is the manufacturing and disposal of the panels at the end of their lifecycle. Although currently the use of fossil power during production and transportation is considered unavoidable, manufacturers are constantly looking for ways to reduce the carbon footprint. For example, over past 10 years the amount of material used for silicon cells has decreased by 62 percent due to increased panel efficiency and thinner designs. This decrease means that less energy is spent processing silicon during the manufacturing process. Evaluating whether your panels were manufactured in China versus the U.S, and knowing what their efficiency rating is will certainly contribute to a lower carbon footprint. Similarly, as new technology becomes available, recycling solar panels and batteries is expected to become more cost-effective, and efficient too.
- uses approximately 181,643 kWh of electricity over 25 years,
- produces 205,257 lbs of CO2,
- requires 80 acres of forest, or 12,000 trees to offset, and
- consumes 2,821,152 gallons of fresh water to turn steam turbines
Most people who evaluate the net-environmental impact of solar power as an alternative energy source are likely to find it an eco-friendly choice.