Most people are aware of the incredible lifetime savings, but what about the environmental benefits of solar panels? Homes and businesses are some of the biggest consumers of electricity. In the US, about 39% of the total energy is used to generate electricity. Traditionally electricity is generated from coal or natural gas, but the detrimental effects of these sources makes it very important for us to find alternative energy sources.
The sun is the perfect candidate for the job because it provides more energy in one single hour than the entire human population uses in a year. The average solar system offsets approximately 178 tons of carbon dioxide over 30 years. The air pollution is just one of the more well known aspects where the byproducts from these coal or gas power plants are harming the environment. The byproducts of these energy sources contain harmful elements, such as: arsenic, selenium, and boron, which slip into the waterways, polluting our rivers. If they are dumped in the landfill without protective lining, these wastes leech into the environment. Additionally, the mining of coal causes large scale deforestation. Occasionally, coal is mined using surface mining, where the entire top of mountain is cut off in order to mine the coal below. Through this practice, more than 300,000 acres of forest and 1,000 miles of streams have been destroyed. So, when you are deciding if solar is right for you, make sure you take the environmental benefits of solar panels into consideration.