Environmental Impacts of Solar Energy
Do you have solar panels on your roof? If so, you’re taking advantage of one of the most environmentally-friendly sources of energy out there! Solar energy has many benefits, including low emissions and low cost, but as with any other energy source, there are also some negative impacts to consider. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the biggest environmental impacts of solar energy, what causes them, and how they can be addressed to make solar power more sustainable in the future.
Top 5 Environmental Impacts
Differing from other forms of renewable energy like wind and tidal, solar power does not produce any greenhouse gases or any harmful byproducts, so you can safely use it without hurting the environment in any way. However, there are some environmental impacts of solar energy that you should be aware of if you’re thinking about using solar panels to power your home or office. To help you understand these impacts, here are 5 environmental impacts of solar energy you should know about.
1) Solar energy is renewable
Solar energy is renewable, does not produce any pollution or greenhouse gases, and can be used almost anywhere in the world. There are many different types of solar systems to choose from, and they all have unique advantages. For instance, solar thermal systems use mirrors to focus sunlight onto a collector pipe that heats water to create steam. This steam then turns into a turbine that creates electricity. Another type of system is called photovoltaic (PV) panels. These panels convert sunlight directly into electricity, so PV panels require no moving parts to work. Tallahassee solar installers offer a range of services for all types of solar installations, including design and installation for residential and commercial properties as well as new construction projects.
2) Solar panels have a long lifespan
Solar panels have a much longer lifespan than other forms of renewable energy. The typical lifespan for solar panels is 25 to 30 years, while wind turbines and hydroelectric power plants typically last 10 to 20 years. This means that solar panels will produce more electricity for their lifetime than wind turbines or hydropower plants producing the same amount of electricity. However, solar panels require direct sunlight to operate, which limits where they can be placed on a property. And during long periods of cloudy days (a winter month), the lack of direct sunlight can prevent the panel from generating any electricity at all. Additionally, these installations are expensive: depending on how large an installation you want (and how many square feet it would cover) you could pay anywhere from $20 per square foot to $100 per square foot.
3) Solar panels are made of recyclable materials
Solar panels are made out of metal, glass, and silicon. The metal is usually aluminum or copper. Silicon can be either crystalline or amorphous and is used in the semiconductor industry to make solar panels more efficient. The glass is usually soda-lime, which is also used in windows and other building products. It's recyclable and doesn't contain lead, arsenic, or mercury like some older types of glass do. As a result, it's non-toxic and safe for humans.
The materials that are not recycled need to be disposed of responsibly: Solar panels have a lifetime of 20 years before they need to be replaced with new ones. While they're still functioning, if someone decides to get rid of their old solar panel on their property and place it into a landfill, this will contribute significantly to air pollution from photochemical smog as well as acid rain.
4) Solar energy doesn't produce pollution
Solar energy doesn't produce any pollution, which is great for the environment. It's the only renewable energy source that can be used without producing any toxic byproducts. It also doesn't take up a lot of space and doesn't require a lot of upkeep to make it function properly. The price of solar panels has come down in recent years, making them more accessible to more people than ever before. There are still some obstacles, such as permitting and zoning restrictions, but these hurdles should eventually get cleared out with time. Some companies are even beginning to use solar technology on an industrial level: IKEA's new plant in Scotland will generate power from the sun on-site rather than relying on grid electricity or diesel generators.
5) Solar farms can provide habitat for wildlife
Solar farms can provide habitat for wildlife by reducing the need to clear land. They can also reduce the amount of water needed to cool power plants, which is a major cause of water pollution. Lastly, solar farms use fewer chemicals and do not create air pollution like fossil fuels. convert sunlight into electricity using the same principle as silicon semiconductors in computers. The key difference is that PV cells don't have any moving parts, while silicon semiconductors in computers rely on transistors to regulate electron flow from one point to another. Meraki Solar in Tallahassee FL uses a technology called DC or direct current; the result is that it only produces AC or alternating current when there's an inverter to make it usable by your appliances and devices.