With more and more structures choosing to have them installed, solar panels are the most popular source of renewable energy for our homes and businesses. Additionally, we are witnessing a rise in the number of solar farms being built, which is all positive for the environment and our planet. It is crucial to comprehend the environmental benefits of solar panels as well as some of the problems they might presently cause and how to address them. Read the article to learn how much do solar panels help the environment and other facts related to it.
Are Solar Panels Environmentally Friendly?
When used, solar energy systems and power facilities don’t emit any greenhouse gases or pollute the air. When solar energy replaces or reduces the use of other energy sources with greater environmental impacts, it can have a beneficial, indirect impact on the environment. However, the development and application of solar energy systems are not without environmental concerns. Now, you are ready to learn how much do solar panels help the environment.
How Much Do Solar Panels Help the Environment?
The points below explain how much do solar panels help the environment-
1. Reduces Air Pollution
Solar energy enhances your health and the health of those around you for years to come by reducing harmful emissions brought on by the combustion of fossil fuels. Methane and carbon dioxide, two toxic gases produced by fossil fuels, worsen air quality. Asthma, bronchitis, asthma, migraines, pneumonia, and allergies are just a few of the health and well-being effects of air pollution. Your general health is improved because solar energy significantly reduces the amount of carbon emission in the air you breathe.
Also See: How Does Solar Energy Impact the Environment?
2. Less Water Usage
While conventional energy sources use tens of thousands of liters of water annually, solar panels do not need water to operate. India’s power industry primarily uses facilities for the cooling generation, processing/refining fuel, and pipe-based fuel transportation.
3. Slows Down Climate Change
Fossil fuel combustion increases the amount of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere, which enhances the greenhouse effect and causes our world to warm more quickly than usual. As a result of the rise in global temperature, glaciers melt and water levels rise, resulting in a variety of natural disasters like cyclones, frequent floods, extremely hot weather, and drought. On the other hand, using solar power to generate energy results in no greenhouse gas emissions, which helps to halt climate change.
Also Read: Superstorm Sandy – A Climate Change Reality Check
4. Reduces Carbon Emissions
Our energy requirements have always been primarily met by coal, gasoline, and natural gas. Because they are limited in supply, fossil fuels cannot meet the world’s growing energy needs and are a significant source of waste. On the other hand, solar energy is plentiful and can be used indefinitely to satisfy global energy needs, lower energy costs, and guarantee a secure energy future.
The release of greenhouse gases, mainly carbon dioxide, into the atmosphere as a result of human activity is referred to as leaving a “carbon footprint.” The use of fossil fuels is the main cause of carbon impact. In contrast, one of the cleanest sources of electricity is solar energy. 1 megawatt-hour (MWh) of solar energy results in the reduction of 0.5 to 1 tonne of carbon dioxide. With this, you should have understood how much do solar panels help the environment.
Also See: Top 10 Solar Energy Myths
How Do Solar Panels Help Climate Change?
The threat of climate change has risen along with the sharp rise in carbon and other greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions over the past few decades. Every area of the United States has access to solar energy, a renewable and carbon-free resource with huge potential for lowering our country’s GHG emissions. A clean, affordable economic future must be powered by significant advancements in solar and other clean energy technologies, which should be a part of any market or policy plan to combat climate change.
Scientists concur that a rise in GHG emissions in the atmosphere is the primary driver of climate change. The two economic areas that contribute the most to GHG emissions in the United States are transportation and electric power, both of which account for 28% of total emissions. The next largest contributors are industry (22%), commercial and residential consumption (11%), and farmland (9%).
Since no single technology can completely eliminate all GHG emissions in the United States, SEIA collaborates with partners in the wind and energy storage sectors to promote a wide-scale shift to a sustainable energy economy. A key element of our country’s endeavor to reduce emissions and meet ambitious climate goals is solar technology. Solar energy is not only a way to lessen our impact on the environment, but it also strengthens the reliability and resilience of our electric infrastructure, giving Americans greater energy security in the face of more frequent and severe natural disasters and storms as a result of climate change. Solar energy is helpful in different sectors of society.
Also Read: What is Active Solar Energy?
1. Electric Sector
The burning of fossil fuels for electricity in homes and structures accounts for more than a third of all GHG emissions in the United States. Clean, emission-free energy can be produced by both photovoltaic (PV) and concentrated solar power (CSP) technologies and fed directly into the American grid. Technologies for solar heating and cooling (SHC) can also be used to reduce the need for energy. Through 2021, the United States will have installed solar energy capability totaling more than 135 gigawatts (GW), which is more than enough to power more than 24 million typical American homes and offset more than 151 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions.
2. Transportation Sector
When charged by a solar-powered carport or charging station, electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in hybrids are frequently viewed as one of the transportation sector’s near-term climate change remedies. Electric vehicles (EVs) are a growingly significant part of distributed solar power, assisting American families in lowering their carbon impact by establishing an end-to-end system that includes rooftop solar, residential battery storage, and EVs.
3. Commercial and Residential Sectors
The residential sector consists of houses and apartments, whereas the business sector consists of structures like offices, shopping centers, warehouses, classrooms, restaurants, and hospitals. Space heating, space cooling, and water heating account for the bulk of energy use in both commercial and residential buildings. Given that SHC systems can supply about 80% of the energy required for room heating and water heating requirements, this is an ideal application for SHC technologies. Additionally, solar air conditioning can be used as a clean, emissions-free alternative to electricity to provide cooling requirements. With big rooftop systems or off-site solar power plants, many of the world’s most prestigious companies and businesses power their distribution centers, offices, and warehouses with solar power.
4. Industrial Sector
Due to our nation’s high level of industrialization, the manufacturing sector is primarily responsible for the majority of our GHG emissions. Aluminum and steel are popular building materials, and their production uses a lot of energy and produces a lot of greenhouse gas emissions. Boiler fuel, or the energy required to produce steam or heat water before it is transferred to a boiler vessel, is one of the primary applications for energy in the industrial sector. Process heating is another application for solar energy. Process heating involves using energy directly to increase the temperature during a manufacturing process, like drying paint in the car industry or preparing packaged foods. By using CSP and SHC methods to produce high- and medium-temperature heat, solar energy can reduce the need for fossil fuels.
Also Read: What Questions to Ask Before Getting Solar Panels?
5. Domestic Policy
SEIA opposes any legislation that would weaken the Clean Air Act and favors comprehensive climate and energy legislation. The SEIA members are working on a number of domestic policy objectives, such as tax policy, workforce development, and infrastructure, to promote the use of low-cost solar energy in the United States.
6. Life-Cycle Assessment
Compared to traditional fossil fuel energy sources, solar has lower life-cycle GHG pollution. The manufacturing and recycling of the solar system may result in some GHG emissions, but the production of electricity has no effect on the environment and produces no GHG emissions.
Also See: Multi Busbar Technology in Solar Panels
How Can We Improve Things?
Recall that solar panels are a great and efficient way to generate energy for your house that is clean and will significantly reduce your carbon impact. Even though the manufacturing process and other elements are not yet flawless, investing should still be considered.
Purchases of solar panels contribute to the advancement of research and development, which enhances the final product. There are issues that need to be resolved, and ideally, they will be on time. Some of the most important areas for improvement are listed below:
- Better productivity levels during the day
- More efficient solar cells for use at night
- Additional spending on solar panels for lakes that are afloat
- A more environmentally friendly manufacturing method to reduce emissions
- There are alternatives to the massive amounts of water that cooling devices use.
Continue to invest in solar panels and encourage the creation of better panels so that these things can be accomplished through additional research and development. We will have better, more effective, and more potent solar energy with the assistance of the general population and consumers.
How Impactful is a Solar Panel in Avoiding Carbon Dioxide Emissions?
Let’s give you some numbers if you’re still unsure of how much carbon monoxide solar energy can help prevent. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory estimates that using solar panels to generate 1000 kWh of energy reduces emissions by more than 1,400 pounds of carbon dioxide. Other pollutants include 8 pounds of Sulphur dioxide and 5 pounds of nitrogen oxides.
The carbon dioxide emissions from a solar panel with a projected 28-year lifespan would be greatly reduced by more than 100 tons. Another intriguing fact is that the US solar sector has decreased emissions, equivalent to about 2 billion trees’ worth of carbon dioxide storage. Trees are cut down during the extraction of fossil fuels, adding to the problem of continuing deforestation and climate change.
Existing structures or vacant lots are used for the installation of solar panels at community solar facilities. Additionally, community solar systems have a significant effect on reducing climate change. They enable people to easily obtain solar energy, thereby lowering their carbon footprint. After this, let’s also look at the pros and cons of solar power.
What are the Pros and Cons of Solar Power?
The role of Solar power in this modern world is highly significant. However, there are various pros and cons of Solar Power, which are mentioned as follows:
The more solar energy we can harness, the less we will need to burn fossil fuels. You can benefit from these solar energy benefits by installing a solar energy system at your residence:
1. Renewable Energy Source
Since solar energy is an inexhaustible resource, you can always use more of it. Solar power is clean electricity. It doesn’t produce any greenhouse gases that absorb heat, such as carbon dioxide. It prevents the environmental harm brought on by digging or mining for fossil fuels. In contrast to power facilities that use steam turbines to produce electricity, solar energy uses little to no water.
2. Reduces Electricity Bill
Your home’s solar energy system can help you save money on your power bill and lessen your dependence on the grid. There may even be some home solar energy system owners who have extra energy they can sell to the utility. Homeowners receive payment from the utility instead of paying for energy. To reduce your home’s electricity costs, you might not need to purchase a complete solar energy setup. To help save money, simply choose solar lamps, which are illuminated by the sun rather than your home’s electrical system.
Also Read: 3 Amorphous Solar Panels Advantages and Disadvantages
The drawbacks of solar energy are diminishing as the sector develops and expands, bringing about efficiencies of scale. Technology advancements are assisting the mainstreaming of solar. Here is how the benefits and drawbacks of solar energy compare.
1. High Initial Cost
It is the most frequently mentioned drawback of solar energy, which is decreasing as the sector matures. The equipment is expensive to purchase and implement at first. Even so, if money is a concern, leasing alternatives might lower your initial outlay. If you decide to purchase, the system won’t pay for itself until after you’ve lived in the house for a while. Renters would benefit more from this long-term investment than property proprietors.
2. Expensive Energy Storage
The temporary decrease in energy output during inclement weather has been one of the main problems with solar energy. The impact of days with limited solar energy, however, is decreasing as a result of advancements in battery science. Alternatives are taking the place of outdated solar energy storage technologies like lead-acid batteries. Greater power is available at a lower expense with lithium-ion batteries. Batteries made of nickel have a very long lifespan. Scale and long-lasting power storage are promised by new technologies like flow batteries.
Solar energy is an emerging renewable energy that is increasingly becoming a part of your lives. Although it has some shortcomings, it is still needed for a cleaner and sustainable future. As you have learned how much do solar panels help the environment, you now know of their importance.
Recommended: REC vs Q Cell Solar Panels