Using paper straws and recycling your delivery boxes isn’t the only way to reduce your carbon footprint. With the advancement of technology and push for renewable energy, there’s an array of options individuals can partake in to do their part in protecting the planet.
Wondering where to start? How about a little help from the sun…
Solar panels help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by converting sunlight into energy instead of burning fossil fuels.
How Do Solar Panels Help Climate Change?
Have you ever thought about what happens whenever you flip on a light switch in your home, or where all that power for billboards in Times Square comes from?
Electricity accounts for a huge portion of greenhouse gas emissions. Electricity is traditionally created by burning a variety of fossil fuels, including coal, natural gas, and petroleum. The upside? You have a constant supply of electricity. The downside? When these fuels are burned, they release huge amounts of carbon dioxide into the air. This carbon dioxide is called a greenhouse gas for a reason – it acts like a greenhouse to trap warmth inside it. So the more carbon dioxide that enters our environment, the warmer the Earth becomes. This is the cause of climate change.
This is where solar panels come in. Solar panels were just one of the ideas that came about in the search for alternative energy sources. The sun is one of our most abundant resources – so why not use it for more than tanning on holiday?
Solar panels absorb energy from sunlight and convert it into energy. This energy is then passed through to homes, offices, malls, power plants and more in the form of electricity – and not a single fossil fuel is burned in the process, releasing no pollution into the environment.
How Do Solar Panels Work?
Solar panels are made out of photovoltaic cells and other semi-conducting materials, usually silicon. These cells convert the sunlight into energy through a process called the photoelectric effect. This is when the layers of the panels are energized when hit by photons from sunlight, creating an electric field. Solar panels use this to generate a direct current of electricity which is used to power anything we want.
What Are The Benefits of Using Solar Panels?
Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Solar panels don’t burn a single ounce of fossil fuel to create energy and convert it into electricity, which means that they don’t produce any greenhouse gas that is harmful to the environment. So the more individuals and corporations that invest in solar power, the less damage will be caused to the environment and less contribution will be made to climate change.
Less Pollution, Better Health
Greenhouse gases emitted by burning fossil fuels don’t just warm the planet, but they pollute it too. If you’ve ever driven by a factory or power plant, you’ve most likely seen clouds of dark smoke being released into the air – those fumes get absorbed by our air and water. This traps heat into our environment which leads to increasing temperatures, but it also enters our bodies. When we walk around in a polluted area or go swimming in the ocean, all those emissions are damaging our bodies as well. Switching to renewable energy sources like solar power can help protect our environment and our health too.
Saves Money in the Long Run
Utility bills are one of some of the biggest expenses that we take on in adulthood. Remember being a kid and not thinking about leaving the lights off? Well, now you know why your parents did!
Even if you live in a cloudy region, solar panels just need 2-4 hours of direct sunlight a day to produce enough power for a household. You could generate enough energy to not just reduce your bill, but possibly even cancel it out completely. Bye-bye electricity bill! Read more here about how solar panels could reduce your utilities.
Great For the Economy
The solar industry is a huge opportunity to create business and jobs. The demand for solar power continues to rise as it becomes more accessible, and solar panels also require much more labor than traditional non-renewable energy production as the equipment needs to be installed for respective customers. Safe to say that solar panels are a WIN for the economy.
Are There Any Downsides to Using Solar Panels?
While solar energy is an ideal option for any home or business, there are a few things to consider before taking the plunge and purchasing solar panels.
The initial investment for solar panels can be a hefty one. Luckily, solar panels are continuing to become more and more affordable, so there are many options for those looking to dip their toes into renewable energy. You can start off by purchasing fewer panels rather than trying to be the greatest source of energy in your neighbourhood.
Energy Storage Can Be Expensive
Ideally, the energy created from your solar panels would directly power your home. But this isn’t always the case. If you choose to store your energy and convert it later, you’ll have to get additional batteries along with the solar panels, which are an additional cost on top of the panels and installation.
Solar panels are by no means discrete. Most people prefer to install them on their roofs for greater sunlight access and to make them less visible. But sometimes rooftops are not spacious enough or don’t have the adequate design for panels to fit. In that case, you may consider ground-mounting your panels, for which you’d need enough land space. So make sure you consider how much you can fit and if it is worth it.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do solar panels stop global warming?
While solar panels can play a significant role in the reduction of greenhouse emissions, it cannot “stop” global warming. Due to the many years of fossil fuel burning to create energy, much damage has already been done and the Earth’s climate has risen to concerning levels. But sustainable solutions such as renewable energy can prevent further emissions and further warming of the climate, which is more important now than ever!
Are solar panels expensive?
Technological innovations have not just brought us the latest iPhone and self-driving cars, but have also made renewable energy tools such as solar panels extremely affordable. More and more people all over the world are investing in solar energy. While the initial investment can be significant, in the long run not only will you be saving the environment, but you will also be saving money on your electricity bills.
Is it difficult to install solar panels?
The process of installing solar panels is not difficult, but it is best left to the experts. While there are solar options for sale that can be installed by yourself, If you’re not familiar with the technology, it can become complicated to set up the system correctly. Installing the panels is just one step – electrical wiring also has to be set up for the conversion of the energy into electricity. Luckily, most solar panel manufacturers also include installation services in their sales. Plus, you’re better off having a warranty and access to maintenance on hand in case your renewable home addition starts to present problems.