Solar power systems derive clean, pure energy from the sun. The sun’s energy is inexhaustible, just 18 days of sunshine on Earth contains the same amount of energy as is stored in all the planet’s reserves of coal, oil, and natural gas.
Traditional electricity is sourced from fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas. When fossil fuels are burned to produce electricity, they emit harmful gases that are the primary cause of air pollution and global warming. Solar's carbon footprint per unit of energy production is 95% lower than that of fossil fuel power plants.
Solar photovoltaic panels are based on a high-tech but remarkably simple technology that converts sunlight directly to electricity. Solar electricity generates no carbon dioxide or heat-trapping gases that contribute to climate change. Solar is not associated with any long-lasting waste or any environmental risks. In comparison to natural gas, coal, and nuclear plants which use steam to create electricity and pollute water during extraction, solar does not depend on water for cooling and solar does not pollute water.
Through solar, our planet avoids air and water pollution, consumers avoid electricity price spikes, our environment avoids excess ash or waste, and our society avoids public health threats. Unlike oil spills which contaminate water and devastate wildlife habitat, the independent nature of solar panels strengthens environmental protection and biodiversity.
Not only are fossil fuels bad for the environment, they're a finite resource. Once they're gone, they're gone forever.
Solar is important because its effects are social and cumulative. The more people see their neighbors, friends and family using solar, the more likely they are to convert to solar energy themselves – more sustainable living, and a safer and smarter planet.
The decision to progress towards combating climate change can start with you, at home.
Information collected from:
Union of Concerned Scientists. “How Solar Energy Works.” USCUSA.
Averyt, K., J. Fisher, A. Huber-Lee, A. Lewis, J. Macknick, N. Madden, J. Rogers, and S. Tellinghuisen. 2011. Freshwater use by U.S. power plants: Electricity’s thirst for a precious resource. Cambridge, MA: Union of Concerned Scientists. <http://www.ucsusa.org/clean_energy/our-energy-choices/energy-and-water-use/freshwater-use-by-us-power-plants.html#.WKOs5RsrKCh>.
Renewable Energy Corporation. “Environmental Benefits of Solar Panels < http://renewableenergysolar.net/solar-faqs/benefits-of-solar/environmental-benefits/>.