What is the environmental impact of solar?

Millie HennickSeptember 11, 20189380

What is the environmental impact of solar?

The world is gradually cutting back on the burning of fossil fuels because of the knowledge that thousands of premature deaths have occurred due to pollution caused by the burning of these fuels. The damaging effects of climate change are motivating smart politicians to develop a strategy for energy use that is consistent with established science. That science is really quite simple. Fossil fuel combustion and consumption has deleterious effects upon the planet and every living thing. Fortunately for mankind, fossil fuels are almost completely depleted and we will have to adopt cleaner energy sources by necessity. The faster we adopt solar and wind technologies, the faster we will reverse the harmful consequences of burning dangerous fuels. It is important to note that some scientists believe that we are already well past the point of "no return." The planet is now warming at a rate previously not believed possible.

Here are some specific pollutants and their respective effects on health.

Nitrogen oxides (NOx) – Affect the lining deep within the lungs. These are linked to asthma, lung cancer, and other respiratory ailments.

Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) – Affects the upper area of the lungs. Linked to respiratory issues, disease, and cancer. It is also a precursor to acid rain.

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) – combines with NOx to produce ozone. Ozone also affects deep portions of the lungs causing various respiratory illnesses and is also believed to increase cancer risks.

The solar solution has been available for a while but few paid attention

Solar power is the most practical solution for our air pollution problems. The benefits of solar power generation completely overwhelm any other source of energy in terms of its untapped potential, environmental advantages, and versatility. T he environmental advantages of solar energy are considerable. Solar has not yet perfected its many technological limitations, but overall solar panel benefits are considerable and very long lasting.  Lifetime emissions related to the construction and recycling of solar panels is tiny compared to fossil fuels. In fact, a solar panel’s energy payback time period is now much less than a year. This means that the energy it took to manufacture the panel can be produced by the panel in that short period of time.

Solar panels produce no emissions

Solar panels create no emissions during use. This makes them much better environmental options than any fossil fuel. Here are some other key advantages of solar energy generation:

Emission Free – Solar produces no emissions during use – completely avoiding additional CO2, NOx, SO2, CH4, and VOCs associated with fossil fuels.

Abundant Energy – Every year, the amount of solar energy that hits the earth is more than a 1,000 times the amount that the world consumes. If we could capture the cumulative solar energy that hits the planet’s surface over the period of one hour, that would be sufficient energy to power the world for one year.

Minimal Land Use – It would take less than one percent of the total available land in the United States for solar to provide all of the energy the country needs.

Easily Scalable – Solar PV can be utilized at all scales – from pocket calculators to very large utility-scale installations.

No Water Use – After installation, there is no water required for solar panels, unlike all other forms of energy production.

There has never been a better time to install a solar energy system! There are so many reasons to go solar. What is yours?

For more information relating to going solar, don't forget to visit our solar blog section for more handy guides and articles.

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