With so much discussion around renewable energy, it’s not unreasonable to question how sustainable these emergent “green” technologies actually are. Most of us are aware of solar power as a renewable electricity source, but how environmentally friendly is it?
Solar power is, by definition, an energy that renews at a rate faster than humans can deplete it. This places solar firmly in the category of what’s called “green energy.” It’s a type of energy captured and then converted to electricity through methods that have little to no impact on the earth’s environment.
Apart from solar, there are other sustainable sources of energy. Wind power, hydropower, and geothermal energy are just a few. When we refer to these sources as renewable, it doesn’t imply they produce an infinite amount of energy. It simply means that, as sources of energy, they can’t be consumed to depletion.
Most experts agree that the primary benefits of green energy are renewability and a low environmental impact. But are there any downsides to using it? Indeed, solar isn’t as environmentally invasive as, say, fossil fuel production. But at the same time, it’s not entirely clean -nor is solar a 100% zero-emissions energy source, either.
A careful analysis of solar panels does reveal that they produce small levels of pollution. But this is almost exclusively during the manufacturing stage and, of course, the time at which they must be discarded. The panels themselves are composed of minerals such as copper, nickel, and cadmium -all of which must necessarily be mined from the earth.
There is no imminent shortage of these earth materials. The issue at hand is their mining, which can contribute to a lot of environmental pollution, such as toxic waste. This is why many argue that solar energy isn’t entirely green. Despite all this, credible studies have shown that after using solar panels for 5.23 years, you will have essentially recovered the energy used to produce them.
Solar energy may not be entirely perfect, but tremendous benefits to using it still exist. To begin with, the price of solar panels has fallen significantly over the past ten years, making them more economical. Likewise, the weighty investment that goes into the sheer economics of the solar industry is constantly being diverted to new research in safer manufacturing practices. Even with all its perceived faults, solar power is still one of the most environmentally renewable sources available today.
Perhaps the most appealing feature of solar energy is that you can utilize it domestically. With the proper use of batteries, you can free yourself entirely from the municipally administered electric grid. There’s an added benefit, as well, is that grid independence permanently eliminates your service bill. In this case, you’re no longer subject to escalating electricity costs. This makes your investment in a domestic solar panel system much easier to absorb.
No matter what your objectives are with solar power, there are plenty of great options out there to equip your home. Few can effectively disagree that solar energy isn’t just a fantastic way to preserve the environment -it can help you save on your home energy bills simultaneously!