What are the environmental benefits of solar?
With the talk of climate change and pollution being ever constant, many people are changing their lifestyles to reduce their environmental impact. Transitioning to solar energy as a power source brings about many benefits that can be felt on a wider and smaller scale. We tend to focus on the financial benefits that solar energy can provide, yet the environmental benefits should be just as considered just as important. Especially if you’re conscious about your carbon footprint.
The environmental benefit of solar energy
Solar energy is produced by photovoltaic panels that convert sunlight into an electrical current. Renewable resources like solar take advantage of natural resources that won’t be depleted over time, bringing plenty of benefits to the environment:
Better Air Quality
Reduced air pollution is one of the clear benefits to the environment. Fossil fuels are burned to produce energy, which results in the smog that we tend to see in large congested cities such as Los Angeles and New York. This smog traps the pollutants from the burned fossil fuels and affects the environment and our health. Solar panels are clean and don’t result in any emissions, helping improve air quality.
The benefits to our overall health should also be considered when talking about solar energy. Air pollutants such as nitrous oxides and sulfur dioxide can affect our health negatively. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) suggests that we can prevent about 25,000 – 59,000 premature deaths by changing to solar energy.
Reducing Water Use
Reduced water usage is another environmental benefit of solar energy. Water scarcity is a concern for the future, although energy sources such as hydro and nuclear energy require water to produce energy. These methods of energy production also affect the water quality and local ecosystem. Dams alter large parts of the environment in their construction, and wastewater from nuclear energy requires secure storage to prevent harmful effects. Solar energy doesn’t use water and can be set up virtually anywhere with a clear view of the sun.
Cutting down on fossil fuels
Switching to solar also reduces our dependency on non-renewable energy sources. The environment benefits from this change because there is less reason to extract resources such as coal, oil, and natural gas. Extracting and refining these resources requires large amounts of manpower, equipment, and dedicated facilities to produce usable resources. Mining and extracting these resources drastically changes the environment, and if it goes wrong, it can result in large ecological disasters like oil spills and large fires.
Fighting climate change
Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is one of the main efforts to reduce climate change. These gasses are produced by burning fossil fuels, and their effects are seen in the rise of global temperatures and climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) climate report states that averaged over the next 20 years, global temperature is expected to reach or exceed 1.5°C of warming. Unless we make a drastic collective change to our greenhouse gas emissions, we will reach the point of irreversible climate change.
We can see the effects of climate change happening in front of us. The large wildfires that have been happening in California have gotten much more intense. The flooding that has been occurring every year in Texas and even the snow and ice during winter storm Uri. These are large climate changes that cannot be denied.
Solar energy’s impact against climate change
How solar helps the fight against climate change, is by giving us a sustainable energy alternative to fossil fuels. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) page on climate change. Through Q3 2021, the U.S. now has nearly 114 gigawatts (GW) of cumulative installed solar electric capacity, enough to power more than 21.8 million average American homes, and offset more than 127 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions. This goes a long way in reducing the number of greenhouse gasses produced by the electric sector, which accounts for 28% of the U.S.’s greenhouse gas emissions.
When considered at a commercial or even residential level, solar energy can make up for the large amount of energy used for space heating, cooling, and water heating. The SEIA also notes that businesses and corporations are using solar panels to power their facilities and offices.
Help the environment with your solar energy system.
If you want to help the environment by transitioning to a solar energy system, we can help. We provide solar energy systems that are tailored to the needs of our customers. Our website also has a free online estimate tool that generates a personalized report for you from a simplified questionnaire. That report will contain the potential savings you can net, and the cost of a solar energy system installed on your property. You can also contact us directly via phone at +1 (602) 363-8919 or via email at Scott@elitesolarenergy.org for more information regarding solar energy for your property.