In 2021 alone, the United States added 23.6 gigawatts (GW) to its total installed solar capacity. As a result, the country now has enough solar to power 23.3 million homes.
Solar continues to grow because of the increasing awareness about its environmental benefits. That’s becoming even more apparent as global warming threatens the planet.
So, how exactly can solar energy benefit the environment? And how does your going green with a solar panel installation help?
We’ll serve you the answers to those questions below, so read on.
Solar energy is renewable because it is self-replenishing, seeing as it comes from the sun. So, as long as the sun shines, it provides an inexhaustible power source.
Now, compare that to fossil fuels that take hundreds of millions of years to form. Therefore, it’s no wonder they’re about to run out. That’s also one of the reasons they’re now so expensive, even more so than solar in 2020.
Doesn’t Require Mining
Generating power with a solar energy system involves setting it up on the roof or the ground. Once installed, it collects the sun’s light energy through its connected panels. It then converts the energy into electricity you can use at home.
So, no mining at all takes place during solar electricity generation.
By contrast, using fossil fuels as a source of energy requires mining them first. Unfortunately, that process causes permanent change to natural landscapes. It disturbs wildlife and their habitats and even leads to soil collapse.
Scientists also say that mining is behind the contamination of over 40% of U.S. stream reaches. These water bodies are now full of heavy metals and acids that endanger humans and wildlife.
Thus, going solar gives you the chance to save the environment by relying less on mined fossil fuels.
Doesn’t Produce Combustion Pollutants
One of the reasons federal and state solar incentives exist is to promote clean solar energy. They do that to encourage people to use the sun’s power which doesn’t cause severe pollution.
After all, a solar energy system doesn’t produce air pollutants as it generates power. It doesn’t need to burn anything; it only harnesses the sun’s light energy.
On the other hand, extracting energy from fossil fuels requires combustion. That process, in turn, emits numerous air pollutants into the air. Indeed, the burning of fossil fuels in the U.S. is one of the country’s leading sources of air pollution.
Has a Much Lower Carbon Footprint
Contrary to what many believe, solar energy does have a carbon footprint. Much of its emissions come from the manufacturing of solar panels. However, it’s far lower than that of fossil fuels.
By contrast, the burning of fossil fuels is the number one source of greenhouse gas emissions. For instance, 25% of GHG emissions in the U.S. alone are from fossil fuel-based electricity.
Save the Planet With Solar’s Environmental Benefits
There you have it; the many undeniable environmental benefits of solar energy. Now you know it’s clean because it’s renewable and has a lower environmental impact. It also doesn’t hurt that it can save energy and thus, help you save money along the way.
All that should be enough to make you consider switching to solar ASAP.
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