Solar Panels Are Carbon
Once youâre done manufacturing and installing a solar panel, it generates pollution-free electricity for 25 to 30 years, maybe even more.
But when you extract oil or coal from the ground, you still have to burn it in a car or a power plant, and that process is definitely not carbon-free.
Not only is it not carbon free, but it produces dangerous pollution such as PM2.5, which causes asthma, and even pollution you might not expect, like radiation and heavy metals. This happens because radioactive elements and heavy metals are trapped in rocks, and burning coal releases that into the atmosphere. Coal burning is why your canned tuna contains mercury.
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.
Benefits Of Solar Energy
Provides long-term energy assurance
The photovoltaic cells in the panel collect the sunlight and convert it into electricity. Solar has an infinite source of energy and is guaranteed to be available for centuries. And as long as the sun continues to shine, we will always be able to reap the benefits by generating clean, green energy. Read more about how Solar Energy works.
Helpful to the environment
The cleanest energy that we can harness is solar energy, and its adoption will reduce the impact that we have made towards driving climate change. The greenhouse effect and global warming are two of the biggest environmental concerns that our children and we will face. Solar energy is also much safer for humans and the environment since it is a lot easier to make and transport.
Prevents damage in the land and habitat
The usage of solar energy can also prevent getting any damage to land and habitats. Todays ecosystem is being destroyed because of the mining of materials like fossil fuels. There are lots of trees being cut down, and habitats are being destroyed to build up factories and power plants. But with solar farms, you place it on the top of the land, and theres no need for you to drill it out or build it above it.
A safe and clean option for a power source
Moreover, using nuclear power can contaminate our water and as well as poison our land. But, using solar power doesnt create any of those pollutants which make it the cleanest, safest, and the best energy alternative.
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The Disadvantages Of Using Solar Energy
We have talked about the good things about solar energy, now lets talk about the downside of using it.
Useless at night
An obvious disadvantage that solar energy has is it is useless at night.
When the sky doesnt turn dark, solar panels turn into sleep mode and is therefore ineffective during the night.
This creates the need for making large batteries to store the energy that was made during the day.
Now, this is related to the point above because, at night, theres not enough warmth from the sun in order to keep the solar panels running.
Although the sun is still present during the winter, theres just not enough heat so that the solar panels could keep generating a substantial amount of electricity.
That means keeping solar panels running during the winter is almost like a waste of money on a technology that is expensive to develop in the first place.
Size of solar panels
Depending on the geographical location of the country, the size of solar panels has to vary.
Making larger solar panels in some countries to generate the same amount of electricity that smaller solar panels could produce in some country is a major economic disadvantage.
How We Can Improve Things
The important thing to remember is that solar panels are an excellent and effective way of producing energy for your home that is clean and will massively reduce your carbon footprint. While the manufacturing process and other aspects are not yet perfect, this should not stop you from investing.
Every solar panel purchased helps to drive research and development further, which then leads to the improvement of the product. There are aspects that need fixing, and hopefully, they will be over time. Here are some of the key things that can be improved:
- Better levels of efficiency during the day
- More efficiency solar batteries for evening use
- Further investment in floating solar panels for reservoirs
- A cleaner manufacturing process for a lowered emission rate
- Alternatives to the huge amounts of water used in cooling systems
These things can be achieved with further research and development, so make sure you continue to invest in solar panels, and support the process towards better panels. With the help of the public and consumers, we will have better, more efficient, and more powerful solar energy.
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The Cons Of Hydropower
Finding clean energy sources helps reduce the environmental impact of unsustainable ones and eliminate climate change effects. Some alternatives, however, may bring additional issues along with them.
Since hydropower involves using dams, habitat disruption is a cause for concern for many. Tiny ecosystems exist in every body of water imaginable. Dams can destroy these systems, potentially harming the species that live there.
Dams also block fish migration. When fish travel, theyre unable to get past these structures, which disrupts a natural and critical migration process for them.
Though many consider hydropower to be a renewable source, its not entirely green. Greenhouse gas is a major cause of global warming, and hydropower structures emit large amounts of methane during electricity production.
Global warming potential allows researchers to compare methane with carbon dioxide. Though carbon dioxide stays in the atmosphere longer, methane has a more significant effect on global warming. Methane is 86 to 105 times more detrimental to the atmosphere than CO2 over two decades, which is the last thing the Earth needs more of.
Improves Humanitys Health In The Long
Weve already mentioned how the US Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy believes that a solar energy system can help us reduce water scarcity, but in that same report, the office also estimates that cleaner air could have a positive effect on mankinds health. In fact, they estimate that we could save more than 25,000 lives.
Thats because with cleaner air comes cleaner lungs.
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What Are The Advantages Of Solar Energy The Power Of Solar Panels
Despite the costs of producing solar panels, according to one study, after 5.23 years generating electricity, they will make up for the energy used to produce the system itself. Moreover, solar panels have their financial payback within 19.3 to 34.4 years, depending on the rate of renewable energy feed-in-tariff applied, according to an Irish paper.
In addition, studies back up that electricity production by photovoltaic solar panels is more sustainable than electricity powered by fossil fuels. Still, these calculations depend on the region of production since, for instance, the carbon footprint of a panel produced in China can be up to twice as big compared to panels produced in Europe.
Hence, solar PV technologies are small and can be used anywhere in the world with relatively low operation and maintenance costs. Regarding the problems around the solar panels end of life, as the industry grows recycling sites will grow too and industry players will likely feel encouraged to find new solutions to improve the efficiency of their operations. And the good news is that some minerals, like aluminum, lead, and copper require less energy to be recycled when compared to primary extraction.
Negative Environmental Impacts Solar Panels
Lets start by stating the obvious – solar power isnt perfect. Like everything in life, there are upsides and downsides.
This is especially true for small topics like generating energy for 7 billion people in a sustainable, economical way.
Solar power is not without its downsides. Lets examine them here:
1. Energy Demand – Solar requires a significant amount of energy up front to produce. Mining, manufacturing and transportation all require substantial amounts energy. Quartz must be processed, and cleaned and then manufactured with other components which may come from different facilities to produce a single solar module. Heating the quartz during the processing stage requires very high heat. Manufacturing requires combining multiple materials with incredible precision to produce high efficiency panels. All of this requires lots of up-front energy. With traditional fuels such as gas or goal,they are extracted, cleaned/processed and burned at very large scales,typically in a single location.
2. Chemicals To produce solar-grade silicon, semi-conductor processing typically involves hazardous chemicals. Depending on the solar panel manufacturer and country of origin, these chemicals may or may not be disposed properly. Like every industry, there are companies leading by example, and others which cut corners to save cash. Not every company will dump chemicals, or wont recycle their byproducts properly, but there are bad apples out there.
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Are Solar Panels Really Energy Efficient And Eco
Solar energy is one of the most practical applications of sustainable living. To be an independent power producer by generating solar power has become affordable and profitable even in a developing country like India. However, are solar panels really energy efficient and eco-friendly?
This is a nagging question that remains at the back of every eco-conscious citizens mind. While there is no doubt that solar energy is a clean form of energy, questions loom around the actual green index of solar panels. This is primarily because the large factories that manufacture these panels tend to be powered by conventional sources of energy like coal, or nuclear power and they pollute a lot. Further, there are apprehensions about aspects of transport, installation, packaging, and ultimately recycling of solar panels.
Do the solar panels produce more energy than what is required to manufacture and install them? This has created reservations among eco-sensitive consumers about the legitimacy of solar energy as a green technology, ultimately hindering its adoption. There are forums that have attempted to answer this question. Most of these answers are fuelled by opinion rather than facts. Opinions are good to have, they enable conversations. But, on the other hand, they do not break the barrier for solar energy adoption, especially for the vast majority that is still a skeptic.
How Does Solar Power Work
Solar power works by converting energy from the sun into power. There are two forms of energy generated from the sun for our use electricity and heat.
Both are generated through the use of solar panels, which range in size from residential rooftops to solar farms stretching over acres of rural land.
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Sustainable Cleaner Greener Future With Solar Panels
If you are looking to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and know what type of solar power system that you are looking for then to speak to a solar installation technician. If youre local to San Diego, Riverside, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, or Orange County, we can make sure that you get a quality solar panel install at a cost that you can afford. We specialize in solar repair, and helping ensure that individuals maximize their efforts towards sustainability. We want to help you fix solar repair issues, while providing you the best rate possible to help promote sustainability. Make some green, by saving green going solar. Read our Solar Installation Decision Guide to help you on your journey to becoming a smart, solar shopper.
Solar Energy: An Overview
With the growing threat of climate change due to the excessive release of carbon emissions, many nations are looking to clean energy alternatives to replace traditional fossil fuels.
Of all the clean energy alternatives, solar has arguably been the most expensive though prices have been declining. However, after considering the pros and cons along with the expectation that prices will continue to decline, the future of solar energy is looking rather bright.
The pros of solar energy include that it is a sustainable alternative to fossil fuels and has a low impact on the environment and the potential for any country to produce it. The cons are that it only produces energy when the sun is shining, needs a significant amount of land, and that certain solar technologies require rare materials.
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Hydropower Energy: What Is It
The second source of renewable energy that is going to be talked about in this article is Hydropower energy.
Hydropower technology captures the flow of water and in turn, converts it into electricity.
The most common form of water to electricity conversion technology is by using a dam on a river to hoard water in a reservoir.
The water thats stored in the reservoir is then released in order to spin turbines to create electricity.
Countries with ample supply of flowing water such as China, Brazil, Canada, and the United States utilize Hydropower technology to create billions of kilowatt-hours of electricity each year.
The three Gorges Dam in China, Guri Dam which is located in Venezuela and the Itaipu Dam located on the Brazil-Paraguay border are three of the most common examples of hydroelectric producing dams.
Lets take a closer look at the advantages and disadvantages of Hydropower energy as a renewable source of energy for our future.
What Is The Carbon Footprint Of Solar Panels
Manufacturing Solar Panels
Electricity produced from solar yields no emissions, no greenhouse gases, and no fossil fuels, but it does require a certain amount of energy to make the solar panels. Luckily, the energy they produce far exceeds what it takes to manufacture them.
The solar power industry pays attention to these details by actively seeking ways to improve this power imbalance. In fact, researchers created a metric called Energy Payback Time to measure the length of time it takes a solar panel to generate the amount of energy equal to what it took to be created.
For multicrystalline-silicon systems , it currently takes 4 years to achieve EPBT, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. 5 Since solar panels last for 20 to 30 years, a single solar panel can generate more than four or five times the energy used to produce. Even better, new technologies arrive every year to reduce EPBT even further. Eventually, the industry wants to shave years off of this time to truly maximize the value of solar!
Maintaining Solar Panels
Lets address how much water is used to maintain solar panels vs. how much water is used to process fossil fuels. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association , approximately 20 gallons of water per megawatt-hour of electricity is needed to clean and wash solar panels.6 Thats less than the amount of water a typical family uses in a year, around 20,000 gallons of water, per the SEIA.
Compare that to coal processing.
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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.
Ways To Go Zero Waste Kathryn Kellogg
In 101 Ways to Go Zero Waste, Kellogg shares these tips and more, along with DIY recipes for beauty and home advice for responsible consumption, and making better choices for home goods, fashion, and the office.
This is a practical, friendly guide of realistic lifestyle changes for anyone who wants to reduce their waste and become more eco-friendly.
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Is Solar Power A Clean Energy Source
Yes, solar power is a renewable and infinite energy source as long as the sun continues to shine, energy will be released.
Another clean energy positive for solar power is that, unlike the burning of fossil fuels, the conversion of sunlight into power creates no harmful greenhouse gas emissions.
The carbon footprint of solar panels is already quite small, as they last for 25 years plus with no loss in efficiency. And the materials used in the panels are increasingly recycled, so the carbon footprint will continue to shrink.