More and more domestic energy consumers are switching over to solar energy to benefit from its long-term cost-effectiveness and freedom from the grid. In case you have not already jumped into the bandwagon and considering the option, look no further. In addition to all the personal gains, solar energy would also make the environmentalist in you happy as it is a sustainable source of green energy. It’s a win-win situation all the way!
Solar energy explained…
The sun offers us a free source of energy that is both clean and renewable. Humans have been taking advantage of the sun’s energy from time immemorial for their simple needs like providing warmth, lighting fire, and drying food articles as a means of preservation.
With the discovery in recent years that solar energy can be collected and stored for later use, it started gaining popularity. The invention of solar panels, its decreasing costs, and governmental incentives are giving a big push for its residential use.
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As the energy rates are soaring, it is natural that consumers are searching for alternatives. Again, with the trend of going ‘off the grid’ gaining traction, solar installation is a great choice. On top of all these advantages comes the fact that it is a green, sustainable energy source. What more can one ask for?
Why is solar energy good? Does solar energy cause pollution?
Let us take a look at the positive environmental benefits of solar energy.
1. Less air pollution
Solar panels replace our energy reliance on power from the grid, which is normally produced by burning fossil fuels. Power generation from fossil fuels is highly polluting as it releases toxic carbon dioxide and methane into the air that we breathe in. This has a devastating impact on our health. The list of health complications linked to air pollution is long – allergies, asthma, bronchitis, headaches, pneumonia, heart attack, some forms of cancers, and even mental health.
Smog, a consequence of air pollution, not only causes extensive health-related issues, but it can also lead to reduced visibility causing accidents. Smog is a blot on a city’s landscape, bringing down its aesthetics and making everything look gray and bleak.
By replacing fossil fuel-generated electricity with solar energy, you can cut down air pollution from burning fossil fuels. As more and more homes and major power generators switch to solar energy, the harmful emissions can be brought down to a minimum.
2. Less water usage
Fresh, clean, and potable water is one of the most precious natural resources. We cannot live without it. However, there isn’t enough to meet all our needs. This means we have to use it wisely and carefully.
Conventional electricity generation with fossil fuels necessitates large quantities of water usage. This is the same for power generation from many other energy sources as well. Water is used for refining, processing, and transporting fuels and also as a coolant in the generators.
The scarcity of fresh water along with its more vital requirement for our other needs makes it prudent that we avoid its use in power generation. Opting for solar power and discarding our reliance on energy generated from such sources can help us save water for more important needs.
Power generation using solar panels doesn’t require water, thus reducing the pressure on the precious resource. The only water usage on a solar installation is for cleaning the solar panels, which is mostly done using rainwater.
3. Reduces carbon footprint
Solar energy is one of the cleanest sources of energy. It doesn’t release harmful pollutants or greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. It doesn’t require water for energy generation. Solar energy is abundant, available everywhere, infinitely renewable energy and most of all come free of cost.
Installing a solar system for domestic power generation, even if it meets your energy requirements partially, can do a world of good in reducing your carbon footprint. The more you use and rely on solar power and the less you depend on grid power generated with fossil fuels, you can feel proud of doing your bit for the environment.
For each megawatt-hour of solar energy usage, you are offsetting anywhere between half a tonne to a tonne of carbon dioxide. This means solar panels can make a huge environmental impact.
4. Cuts down the use of fossil fuels
Most of our traditional power generation plants use fossil fuels as they were cheaper and plentiful a few decades back. As our reliance on fossil fuels increased exponentially, we started noticing its impacts on the environment. However, rolling back its use and switching over to alternative energy sources is not as easy as that.
At an individual level, it is easy to make the change with a solar installation. Even if you are connected to the grid and using the solar installation for partial energy needs, you are still reducing the harmful effects of the burning of fossil fuels. The more you use solar energy, the less you are utilizing energy from the grid.
As we are fast running out of fossil fuels and understand the numerous adverse consequences of burning them, installing a solar energy unit can make a big difference.
5. Helps to slow down climate change
Burning fossil fuels release toxic gases like carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide into the atmosphere. These not only result in polluting the air but also damages the protective shield in the atmosphere known as the ozone layer. The release of these greenhouse gases into the atmosphere contributes to the greenhouse effect.
The greenhouse effect is a natural process in the environment. It helps in maintaining the earth’s temperature in a comfortable range to sustain life. However, when it goes out of control, like what is happening now, it results in raising the earth’s temperature.
As we burn more and more fossil fuels, the quantity of greenhouse gas released also increases leading to an enhanced greenhouse effect. This will result in raising the temperature of the earth’s surface to such levels that it causes polar ice caps to melt and sea levels rise submerging coastal low-lying lands.
Global warming has also been linked to many climate catastrophes such as heavy rains, flooding, extreme heat, drought, storms, and cyclones.
Solar energy production doesn’t result in the release of greenhouse gases and hence no greenhouse effect or global warming. The more we use solar energy, the less we will be using energy from the grid. This means we are doing our bit in the fight against climate change.
Powering a House with solar panels comes with many incentives, inducements, and motivations. Freedom from rising energy bills and being connected to the grid are good enough to help you make the change. Governmental incentives like tax credits help in taking it further.
The icing on the cake, as they say, is the positive environmental impacts of solar energy.
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