University of California
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Environmental Benefits of Solar Panels
Environmental Benefits of Solar Solar Panels Produce Electricity with Zero Emissions Solar energy generated via solar panels (also known as Photovoltaic Solar or PV solar) is one of the most sustainable ways we have of generating energy and electricity today. First and foremost solar panels produce electricity without emissions of any kind. The majority of electricity we use in the United States today is generated from burning coal. Recently there has been a lot excitement around the idea of clean coal, but it is important to remember that this technology only exists as a concept and many experts doubt it will ever be commercially feasible.
Solar panels are a proven, time tested, highly evolved technology and are ready for use now, and as the industry expands solar panels are becoming increasingly effective and cost efficient. Other Alternative Energy Technologies have Serious Environmental IssuesOther alternative energy technologies like nuclear reactors and hydroelectric dams pose both policy challenges and unfortunate environmental consequences when compared to PV solar.
Nuclear reactors create hazardous waste that is piling up at power plants across the nation, and by the time the first nuclear waste storage facility might be finished, all of its available storage space will already be spoken for. In comparison, generating electricity with hydroelectric dams doesn’t result in the emission of greenhouse gases, but it does have disastrous effects on the ecosystem in and around the river it interrupts. Go Solar and Reduce Your Carbon Emissions by 23,000 pounds!
The average American home uses more than 11,000kWh of electricity every year, resulting in the emission of 23,122lbs per year of CO2 from burning coal. By comparison, the average automobile in the United States is responsible for emitting approximately 14,600lbs of CO2 into the atmosphere in a given year. This means that for every American home that converts to solar energy and PV solar, the resulting reduction in greenhouse gas emissions is equivalent to taking about 1. cars off the road.
If the state of California were to harness solar power to satisfy just its residential energy needs, the impact would be the same as taking almost 20 million cars off the road. By installing solar panels on your home or business you can make a major contributions to the fight against global warming while also insulating yourself from the inevitable price increases from power companies tied to diminishing fuel sources.
Solar Energy is an Infinite ResourceAnd not only is electric power from solar panels free from greenhouse gas emissions, it’s also an infinite resource. The fact is there are only so many gallons of oil, trainloads of coal, and cubic feet of natural gas in our planet, and they will run out. Our daily lives rely on huge amounts of energy and while there is a fair amount of discussion and disagreement about how long these fuels will last, there is strong consensus that we use these resources faster than they are replenished and sooner or later they will run out.
During a single day more energy in the form of sunlight finds its way to earth than we could ever hope to use. The sooner we begin to harness this energy through the deployment of solar panels (PV solar), solar water heaters, and other solar energy technologies, the sooner we will see the effects of anthropogenic climate change slow and reverse, and the sooner we will see our economy thrive without the limits of expensive and finite sources of energy.