Many people are currently making the decision to switch to solar energy for its substantial financial benefits, such as lower power bills, government incentives, and increased home value. Equally important are the significant environmental benefits that come along with making the smart decision to switch. Turning to clean solar energy avoids many detrimental effects such as air and water pollution, dependence on finite resources, and adverse health effects, among many others.

Solar = Cleaner Air

Fossil fuel power as a traditional energy source is extremely damaging to the environment. Its collection and use are the leading causes of global warming and decreased air quality. This can be combated by switching to a clean energy source like solar power. 

In fact, the solar capacity currently installed across the United States is expected to offset as much as 16.8 million metric tons of carbon dioxide a year. That’s 16.8 million fewer tons of toxic air to breathe. That’s the equivalent of 84,000 full grown blue whales worth of toxins, eliminated from the air already by solar power. This is a huge step toward mitigating the human impact of environmental climate change. We can continue adopting clean energy practices to even further this effort.

Most of the electricity generated in the U.S. currently comes from fossil fuels like coal and natural gas. Extracting and using fossil fuels is expensive and harmful to the environment. By contrast, solar energy is free and readily abundant. Even just one home installing a clean solar energy system can have a measurable effect on the environment. Switching from fossil fuels to solar power has the same emissions reduction effect as planting 155 trees every year. Go you!

Traditional electricity generation is by far the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions. It is more damaging than pollution from both transportation and manufacturing combined! Even considering the energy expended to initially produce solar panels, you’ll produce far less emissions compared to sticking with traditional sources of energy over the lifetime of your system. That’s an environmental win.

Solar Power Saves Water

One of the biggest, yet least talked about environmental benefits of going solar is how it is saving our limited freshwater supply. Traditional power plants, such as natural gas and coal-fired plants, require up to 60 gallons of water for every kilowatt-hour of electricity produced to facilitate their vital cooling requirements. With solar energy, there is no pollution of local water resources, both in manufacture and in their use. Why is this withdrawal of freshwater even important? The water usage of traditional 

power plants poses a threat to both local ecosystems as well as economies. This abundant water usage puts a huge strain on local resources in times of drought. It also stresses local ecosystems in many cases to the breaking point. This has an enormous environmental effect, the draw on water can destroy aquatic habitats for fish and insect larvae and can lead to animals dying of thirst.

In many cases, this used water from power plants is pumped back into its source, usually at a much higher temperature, anywhere up to 18 degrees fahrenheit hotter than normal. This can severely harm aquatic ecosystems, since many fish, plants, and insects can only live within a narrow range of temperatures. In addition, water discarded from power plants are often also polluted by toxins from the mining, drilling or refining processes, or can be contaminated by acid rain produced by the greenhouse gasses trapped in the atmosphere which is also caused largely by these power plants. Both can drastically affect animal populations and can negatively affect food chains within the entire ecosystem.

Solar Protects Finite Resources

Another benefit of solar energy is that it is renewable. In contrast, fossil fuels are non-renewable and while they may seem in abundance today, there will come a time when the world will run out. Or, the cost of finding and extracting these sources will become too expensive to sustain. By that time, the resulting damage to our financial infrastructure and environment may be unrepairable. Switching to solar today is the best way to hedge against the reality of finite fuel resources.

Protect The Earth, Protect Your Health

Along with the environmental damage that traditional power creation causes, it also wreaks havoc on human health. One of the biggest benefits of solar energy is that it results in very few air pollutants. Solar energy doesn’t release toxic gasses into the atmosphere as with fossil fuel power. By cutting down carbon emissions and pollution levels, solar energy improves the life expectancy and reduces mortality rates of surrounding communities. If the United States has a goal of 27% of total power coming from solar sources by 2050. If this is reached, the economic and environmental impact would result in $167 billion in savings from lower future health and environmental damages. It will also prevent 25,000-59,000 premature deaths due to pollution-related illnesses.

Solar Makes Environmental Sense

In summary, choosing cleaner solar power not only helps you save money, but it benefits the environment and humankind as well. Solar energy is a clean, affordable, and sustainable way to generate electricity. It is a way to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels in favor of the most abundant source of energy available – the sun. If you are interested in learning more about the financial and environmental benefits of solar energy and if it is right for you, we invite you to request a free custom solar quote from one of our friendly solar experts today!

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