Although many people go solar because it makes financial sense, there are also environmental reasons for investing in solar energy. This is important for many people when they’re considering solar energy pros and cons. Most homeowners would like to know the environmental impact of solar energy, in addition to the savings, they would realize.
Throughout most of the time that we’ve been an industrialized society, we’ve used non-renewable resources to power our homes. These are substances that we can pull out of the Earth, such as coal and oil. Not only are these resources limited, but they also have negative impacts on the environment.
People around the world are becoming more conscious of our impact on the Earth, and in recent years there has been a big push to reduce carbon emissions, from both governments and private citizens.
One of the biggest pros of solar energy is that it’s virtually limitless and using solar energy it has minimal impact on the environment. The sun is in no danger of flickering out anytime soon; it will continue to burn for many millions of years. Compared to nonrenewable resources such as coal, solar panels have a negligible impact on the environment.
To power the average American home per day, you would need to burn about 17 pounds of coal .
The environmental benefits of solar power include:
Let’s consider the emissions of a home powered by solar energy versus the emissions of a house powered by coal. Although it’s difficult to come up with exact numbers, we can still get a rough idea of the environmental impacts of each. According to the EPA, in the United States 2,249 lbs per MWh of carbon dioxide are released into the atmosphere by coal burning plants. On the other hand, the emissions that are generated from solar power barely even exist since solar panels don’t require the combustion of fuel, which is one of the biggest pros of solar energy.
Also, let’s think about the amount of coal the average home consumes. Obviously this is going to be different depending on the house, but the average family in America burns an equivalent of around 6,200 pounds of coal every year – this works out to an average of about seventeen pounds of coal per day. When you consider how many homes there are in the United States, it’s clear that this is having a damaging effect on the environment. Whereas coal and natural gas are unhealthy, damaging to the environment, and non-renewable, the environmental impacts of solar energy are extremely low. This is one of the huge pros of solar energy; it produces few harmful byproducts. It only makes sense that we should start investing in our future by switching to renewable energy, and by investing in solar power, you will help make this happen.
Interested in getting exact prices for the cost solar for your home? Get competitive solar quotes from qualified, trusted installers in your area. To see an estimate for how much you could expect to save and how much a solar system would cost, try our solar calculator.