What Causes Solar Panels To Degrade
Several factors cause degradation other than age. When installing solar panels, you can fully expect them to be able to withstand much pressure and fairly extreme conditions.
However, theyre not immune to damage. For instance, changes in weather cause strain on solar panels, resulting in micro-cracks. Debris could also accumulate and result in damage. Strong wind, snow, and yes, even sunlight, can cause degradation on the panels.
Manufacturers typically take into consideration a 1% rate of degradation each year. However, maintenance checks can help to extend the life of these technologies. In general, they need little upkeep, but solar power maintenance is still recommended.
Other than a regular cleaning, it is best to ensure that periodic checks by the manufacturer are done. Some elect to do annual inspections, while there are manufacturers that do routine checks every quarter.
Meanwhile, homeowners who have had PV systems installed in their properties can check their efficiency by monitoring their monthly power output. Most systems come with monitoring software. If you notice a decline in the electricity that is being generated, it might be time to get in touch with a technician who could address the problem.
What Is Global Warming
Global warming is one of the most serious threats to the planet. Our reliance on fossil fuels is one of the primary causes of this environmental threat. The burning of fossil fuels increases air pollution and the release of greenhouse gases, a cause of the rise in global temperatures. These changes have also led to an increase in severe and dangerous weather patterns.
What We Can Do To Minimize The Negative Effects
However, you cannot change the manufacturing process of solar panels but can reduce the losses by doing some things.
Solar panels installed on the land can cause habitat loss but doing roof installation you can reduce habitat loss.
Utility-scale solar systems should be set up on lower-quality locations such as brownfields, abandoned mining land.
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Switching To Solar Helps Numerous Health Conditions
More solar energy usage means less harmful effects from fossil fuels…and that means a reduction in the illnesses that greenhouse gases cause.
An American agency, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory , discovered that with greater usage of solar, sulphur dioxide , nitrous oxides, and particle pollution would be drastically reduced. This would result in lower rates of bronchitis, other breathing problems, and cardiovascular illnesses. It would help businesses too, as fewer workers would need sick leave.
Solar energy is not only good for the purse its good for our planet and our health. Making the choice to use solar power at home means youre making the world a better, safer, healthier place to live in…and that is truly priceless.
Why Are Solar Panels Good For The Environment
Solar panels are the leading source of renewable energy for our homes and businesses, with more and more buildings opting to have them installed. Alongside this, we are also seeing an increase in the number of solar farms that are being constructed, all of which means good news for our planet and the environment. However, it is important to understand why solar panels are good for the environment, as well as a few of the issues they may currently produce and how we can fix that.
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Lowers Consumption Of Fossil Fuels
We have always largely depended on coal, oil and natural gas for our energy needs. Fossil fuels are finite in nature and cannot keep up with the increasing demand of energy and are major contributors for pollution. Solar energy, on the other hand, is abundant and can be endlessly harnessed to meet global energy consumption, reduce energy costs and ensure a stable energy future.
Solar Energy Vs Wind Energy
Both wind and solar energy are two of the fastest-growing sources of renewable energy. Both energy sources help to cut down pollution and offer alternatives to fossil fuels, however, there are notable differences between the two.
The turbines that power wind energy are less harmful to the environment than solar panels. Furthermore, they produce more electricity than solar panels and can be installed offshore. Unlike solar, wind energy can be harnessed both day and night. However, wind is an unpredictable energy source. Turbines are also quite noisy, and, like solar panels, require a lot of land space thus don’t make sense for densely populated areas.
Ultimately, solar panels are the more powerful and predictable source of energy. They require less space, are less noisy, and can be installed on rooftops, etc. in densely populated areas.
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Benefits Of Solar Energy To The Environment
There are plenty of different reasons why solar energy is so advantageous. There are some financial benefits to solar, such as savings through lowering your electric bill. There are some other benefits and advantages as well. Some people just like the idea of being green and more energy independent. They like that they dont have to depend as much on the grid for their energy needs.
But some of the best benefits of solar energy are the way it impacts the environmental.
Here are five of the environmental benefits of renewable solar energy.
Add An Electric Vehicle And Drive On Sunshine
Its pretty obvious that driving an electric car means fewer, if any, visits to the gas pump. Opting for an EV also means offsetting 100% of a traditional cars harmful C02 emissions. But what many people dont realize is that if you charge that EV from a non-solar home, all you’re doing is moving the energy expense from the gas pump to your monthly utility bill. A properly designed solar energy system will power your home AND your car while helping to further offset the dirty electricity that youd otherwise need to purchase from your utility.
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How You Can Make A Difference To The Environment With Solar
Going solar has many benefits. You can:
- Reduce your energy consumption, helping you to keep more money in your pocket
- Take advantage of government incentives, known as Small-Scale Technology Certificates to help you make the switch and
- Potentially increase the value of your home
Another significant advantage of going solar is its benefit to the environment. According to The Australia Institute Climate of the Nation Report 2019, 83% of 18-34 year-olds are concerned about climate change. In addition, 81% of Australians are worried that climate change will result in more droughts and flooding, up from 78% in 2018.1 As solar uses the sun as a renewable energy source to either power your home or heat water, going solar helps you reduce your carbon emissions, leading to a more sustainable lifestyle.
In this article, we will explore how solar works to help you reduce your carbon emissions, as well as the extent to which you can make a positive contribution to the environment.
The solar opportunity
Producing energy with the use of fossil fuels generates carbon dioxide, which leads to increased pollution and climate change.
Australia has the worlds highest solar radiation at 58m petajoules per year, approximately 10,000 times larger than its total energy consumption. So, there is an incredible opportunity to use the abundant sunshine to power our homes, heat water, and help reduce the risk of climate change.
How does solar help the environment?
Slows Down Climate Change
The burning of fossil fuels increases the presence of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere that contributes to enhanced greenhouse effect which is warming our planet faster than before. The consequent increase in global temperature results in the melting of glaciers, rising sea levels, which in turn causes a number of calamities like cyclones, frequent floods, extreme heat and drought. On the other hand, generating electricity from solar panels does not produce any greenhouse gases and therefore helps to slow down climate change.
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Radiative Characteristics Of Solar Panels
To establish the energy balance of the equivalent urban canyon, the TEB model needs the albedo and the emissivity in the thermal infrared for the following main areas: road, roofs, facades, glazing. The French Center for Aerospace Research laboratory maintains a current database of optical properties of urban materials. Specific measurements were made for emerging materials: rough white paints, photovoltaic solar panels, metal cladding, and glass . The measurements for large samples of materials, e.g., for solar panels, were made using a goniometer .
Figure 2. Left: Goniometer used for albedo measurements. Right: Instrument used for emissivity measurements.
The measurement process is fully automated in the 0.42.5 m spectral domain. The position measurements acquired by the detector are regular in azimuth and zenith with an angular accuracy of 1°, except for the region of specular reflection, which is meshed more precisely.
The reflectance is measured with reference to a reflectance reference . Thereafter, the reflectance of the solar panel placed in the center of the goniometer is acquired for all recorded positions of the detector and the light source. The reference measurement is repeated at the end of the process.
The emissivity was measured using a SOC 400T apparatus . It measures the directional hemispheric reflectance for wavelengths between 2.5 and 20 m. The resulting emissivity was 0.93 for solar panels.
Solar Energy Produced Coincides With The Demand
Energy demands are high during the day and drop significantly in the night. Solar energy is ready to use and can be produced in excess then stored for future use.
You just need to invest in powerful batteries, an inverter, and always remember to charge them during the day. You dont need much power at night but choose batteries that store for you a good amount of energy.
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Environmental Benefits Of Solar
There are two primary reasons home and businesses are interested in solar energy: first, the financial benefit and, second, the environmental benefit. In other pieces, weve covered the financial benefits of solar quite extensively. In this piece, well focus on the environmental benefit of solar.
Reduction Of Carbon Footprint
Solar energy is clean, efficient, and sustainable for your household or workplace. Carbon dioxide is produced mostly during the generation of electricity and also during consumption.
Solar panels have no emissions whatsoever hence a guarantee of no carbon footprint if you depend on the natural energy. Here is why you should care about the environment.
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How Solar Panels And A Home Battery Can Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
A safer and healthier planet starts with us. See how powering your home with solar panels and battery storage can help reduce the global effects of climate change and promise a brighter future for all.
Theres no question that our planet is changing dramatically. In the face of climate change and devastating natural disasters exacerbated by a global pandemic, were here to help work toward a brighter future.
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Sunrun is on the front lines of the fight against global warming by helping thousands of American households across the country run on affordable renewable energy. Going solar will not only help offset climate changeits also a crucial step towards addressing inequalities among communities that suffer the most from the harmful effects of environmental contamination.1
Realistically, solar panels alone wont be enough to mitigate the effects of rising global temperatures and greenhouse gas emissions. A cleaner world will require holistic renewable energy solutions, like solar panels paired with battery storage, to protect our planet from further air pollution, warmer temperatures, and increasingly dangerous weather events. , we can help foster a safer world for our families and generations to come.
Solar Panels Help Acid Rain
CO2 is not the only gas being produced in the process of burning fossil fuels. There are a multitude of chemicals being vented into the atmosphere both in unnatural forms and levels.
Sulfur and Nitrogen are two examples of this.
While both sulfur and nitrogen can be found naturally in the environment, the concentration levels of these two chemicals can quickly exceed the frequency of any natural occurrence. Consequently, the results can be quite devastating.
Acid rain is one such result.
Solar panels can help prevent acid rain as they do not produce emissions in their day to day operation.
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Going Solar Will Reduce Greenhouse Gas And Co2 Emissions
The average Arizona home consumes just under 13,000 kilowatt hours of electricity annually. Even a modestly-sized solar energy system can easily reduce that number by 80% while many can even approach 100%. Even at these levels, the environmental impact of solar is substantial. Over twenty years, producing just 80% of the average homes annual energy requirements, a solar energy system will offset the equivalent CO2 emissions from over 150,000 pounds of coal burned, or the greenhouse gas emissions from 45 tons of landfill waste! *
Top 4 Ways Solar Positively Impacts The Environment
There are many motivations for adding solar to your home or business. Anytime you can make your own electricity, thats energy that you dont have to purchase from your local utility. As electricity costs continue to increase, especially with longer and hotter summers predicted as our climate continues to warm, making the switch to solar the best way to lock in decades of predictable energy costs.
But the environmental impact of adding solar is just as compelling. And since Arizona utilities generate most of their electricity from dirtier sources such as coal, nuclear and natural gas, installing solar is a compelling way to contribute to a cleaner and more sustainable future while also putting money back in your pocket.
If youre considering adding solar to your home or business, dont just stop at the dollars. Its also important to consider the following four eco-friendly advantages.
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How Do Solar Panels And Battery Storage Help The Environment
When we transition to renewable energy sources like solar power, we can help reverse the devastating effects of GHGs on the environment and air quality. Solar energy is emissions-free and could significantly reduce air pollution caused by greenhouse gases.3
While solar panels can generate renewable, emissions-free electricity, its equally important to know how that electricity is distributed. Battery storage reserves solar energy for when you need it most, which ensures that the gains from renewable energy dont go to waste.
States across the country recognize the benefits of battery storage. For example, Texas is beginning to invest heavily in solar energy storage, and with good reason: studies show that adding energy storage to the grid could cut greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 57%.6,7 In Hawaii, a solar power plant in Kauai with battery storage is expected to save 2.8 million gallons of diesel oil annually and power more than half of the islands peak nighttime electric load.3
Reduce Your Carbon Footprint With Sunrun
Fossil fuels are not renewable. Theyre expensive to produce, cause damage to our environment, and are in limited supply.12 In contrast, energy from the sun is free, sustainable, clean, and renewable.
Together, we can create a cleaner, safer planet for all to enjoy. Join Sunrun and reduce the need to burn fossil fuels when you install solar panels and battery storage. Every individual or family that converts to solar helps mitigate the effects of climate change in their neighborhood and around the world.
See why Americans across the country are going solar with Sunrun. Speak to one of our experienced Solar Advisors with a socially-distanced virtual consultation and get a complimentary solar quote today.
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How Green Are Those Solar Panels Really
As the industry grows, so does concern over the environmental impact.
As the world seeks cleaner power, solar energy capacity has increased sixfold in the past five years. Yet manufacturing all those solar panels, a Tuesday report shows, can have environmental downsides.
Fabricating the panels requires caustic chemicals such as sodium hydroxide and hydrofluoric acid, and the process uses water as well as electricity, the production of which emits greenhouse gases. It also creates waste. These problems could undercut solar’s ability to fight climate change and reduce environmental toxics.
A new ranking of 37 solar manufacturers, the Solar Scorecard, shows that some companies are doing better than others. Chinese manufacturer Trina scored best, followed by California-based SunPower.
The annual scorecard was created by the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition , a San Francisco-based nonprofit that has tracked the environmental impact of the high-tech industry since 1982. It’s the group’s fifth scorecard, and it shows that the industry is becoming morenot lessopaque when it comes to the sustainability of its manufacturing practices.
The coalition hopes the scorecard will increase transparency in a burgeoning industry that tends to be more focused on survival and growth than on tackling the dirtier side of an otherwise clean energy source.
What is Solar Power?
Patchy Data on Chemicals, Emissions
Not Enough to Recycle Yet
Solar Energy Decreases Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Generating electricity with solar power instead of fossil fuels can dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, particularly carbon dioxide . Greenhouse gases, which are produced when fossil fuels are burned, lead to rising global temperatures and climate change. Climate change already contributes to serious environmental and public health issues in the Northeast, including extreme weather events, rising sea levels, and ecosystem changes.
By going solar, you can reduce demand for fossil fuels, limit greenhouse gas emissions, and shrink your carbon footprint. One home installing a solar energy system can have a measurable effect on the environment. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average home with solar panels in Connecticut uses 8,288 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year. Switching from fossil fuels to solar power in the state has the same emissions reduction effect as planting around 150 trees every year.
In New York, the average home uses 7,248 kWh of electricity annually. Choosing a clean source of electricity like solar panels can eliminate the same amount of carbon emissions that would result from burning over 5,000 pounds of coal each year.
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