Widespread adoption of solar energy would limit carbon dioxide and other air pollutants that cause ecosystem damage and human health problems, including heart attacks, chronic bronchitis, and asthma attacks. No greenhouse gases are produced when solar electricity is generated, which will help slow down climate change and its harmful effects on our atmosphere and wildlife.
Harmless to Wildlife
Unlike fossil fuels, solar energy doesn’t create harmful greenhouse gas emissions that lead to climate change. Thus, understanding the benefits of solar panels to the environment is essential. This type of energy is also renewable, which means it will never run out, while fossil fuels are a finite resource that will eventually be depleted. While all forms of energy production come with a certain amount of waste, solar power is one of the cleanest and most environmentally friendly options. Most solar panels are made of silicon, which is non-toxic and can be recycled for use in new systems right away. Solar energy is also produced with fewer resources than hydropower and nuclear power.
Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Fossil fuel combustion has released greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, impacting the climate globally. A homeowner can drastically reduce their carbon footprint by switching to solar energy. Solar power generates electricity without emitting any pollutants, making it a much more environmentally friendly alternative to fossil fuels. It is also a renewable resource, meaning its supply will not deplete, like oil and gas, over time. The environmental benefits of solar energy extend beyond just eliminating greenhouse gases; it can also significantly cut down on the water used for power generation. Traditional power plants use a lot of water, which can cause problems in areas that experience droughts and low water reserves. Solar power systems, however, only use a small amount of water for maintenance and recharging batteries. Even if a home doesn’t switch entirely to solar, it can still make an immense difference by using it as a supplement to its existing power sources. It will also help reduce energy bills, which is excellent news during these tumultuous economic times.
Help Restore Ecosystems
Using solar energy instead of fossil fuels reduces greenhouse gas emissions contributing to climate change. It also helps conserve water. Solar power uses far less water than nuclear, coal, and natural gas-based power sources. It creates clean, renewable electricity without the need for large amounts of water for cooling, meaning drinking and agricultural water can be reserved for more pressing needs. While a solar installation does require some energy to mine and manufacture, it makes up for this energy in one to four years of use. Plus, solar panels can last up to 30 years. While the massive solar farms needed to produce electricity on a large scale do impact biodiversity, scientists are working to mitigate this impact. For example, they’re looking at alternative locations for these installations. They’re identifying areas that aren’t prime farmland but have good sun and climate conditions. Additionally, they’re evaluating how to prioritize native plants best. This will help restore ecosystems and improve soil conditions, which benefits wildlife in ways non-native plants could not.
Reduce Water Use
In addition to greenhouse gas emissions, burning fossil fuels for electricity produces harmful pollutants like sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide. These air contaminants can contribute to acid rain and smog. Solar energy helps reduce these issues by removing fossil fuel emissions from the atmosphere. Although constructing solar panels does require water, new technologies are being developed to reduce the amount needed for manufacturing. For example, a new method for cleaning solar panels uses electrostatic repulsion to remove dust instead of water. This could help save gallons of water each year. Solar power systems also use little or no water since they do not need cooling. On the other hand, traditional power plants consume gallons of water daily for cooling.
Moreover, solar systems can be built on something other than land that would otherwise be used for farming or other purposes. This helps preserve wildlife habitats and keeps soil from being disturbed. In addition, solar energy does not emit any pollution during operation.
Solar power is a much more sustainable option than fossil fuels that deplete finite resources and emit harmful greenhouse gasses when burned. Solar panels have a relatively low carbon footprint when they are used to produce electricity, and even when they are retired, their materials can be reused. Unfortunately, recycling solar panels isn’t widespread in the United States. It is expensive to recycle them, and the process can be complicated because PV modules are designed with multiple parts that work together. This makes them difficult to disassemble. Raw materials recoverable estimates from retired solar panels globally could be worth up to $15 billion by 2050. However, the recovery rate is a fraction of what it could be, mainly due to the high cost of solar panel recycling. If costs can be lowered, more recycled PV will likely make its way out of landfills and into new applications, where they can continue to generate clean energy. This can offset the environmental impact of producing solar panels, which can take, on average, four years to recoup their manufacturing and shipping emissions and waste from the environment.