Each kilowatt hour of electricity your solar PV system produces reduces the carbon emissions associated with power utility company energy production. This helps Massachusetts residents lower their overall carbon footprint.
The biggest chunk of a solar panel’s carbon footprint comes from the mining and transportation of its components. But even these emissions are much less than those generated by fossil fuels.
- Reduced Emissions
Solar electricity is a renewable energy source that produces no carbon emissions during operation. However, many homeowners must remember that solar PV panels have a small carbon footprint due to their production and shipping processes.
When you purchase a home solar PV system, you will likely receive various incentives and rebates that reduce your overall costs. These can include cash back, property tax exemption and waived fees. It is also worth considering installing an energy storage system alongside your solar panels that will allow you to store the electricity they generate during the day for use at night. This will help you to become more self-sufficient and reduce your reliance on the National Grid.
There are two main types of solar panels, monocrystalline and polycrystalline. Monocrystalline solar panels are manufactured by molding and cutting a large silicon block, while polycrystalline solar panels are made of multiple smaller silicon crystals that have been melted together. Both manufacturing processes have hidden carbon footprints and depend on various resources, including fossil fuels.
There are ways to make the process more efficient, and several companies are exploring how to upcycle waste from the manufacturing and shipping processes into new solar panels. Additionally, solar panel installation in New Jersey are expected to last 40+ years, reducing their need for frequent replacements and lowering their carbon footprint.
- Reduced Carbon Dioxide Emissions
Solar power is a clean, renewable energy source that does not require burning fossil fuels. It is also much less polluting than coal, natural gas, and other types of electricity generation. One acre of solar panels is estimated to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by between 70 and 110 metric tons per year.
Even though solar energy does not generate emissions while producing electricity, it still has a carbon footprint because of how the panels are manufactured and shipped. This is why considering a solar panel’s life cycle is important when considering its environmental impact.
Solar power is an excellent way to decrease dependence on the national grid and help your community reduce energy consumption. During summer, when utility power demand peaks, you can offset the amount of electricity you draw from the national grid by generating it at home with your solar panels.
Solar panels need maintenance to keep them working properly, and it is recommended that you have your system checked and cleaned every five years. You can do this yourself, using a garden hose to wash the surface of your panels or hire a professional to ensure that the wiring is in good condition. Many local companies are growing their businesses by providing cleaning and maintenance services for solar systems.
- Reduced Water Emissions
The water used to produce solar panels is clean and recycled, which means that your electricity-generating system will save you a lot of water every year. Rooftop solar cells can save your household an average of 16,200 gallons of water annually. This is significant because fossil fuel-based power plants emit a large amount of pollution into the air, contaminating our water supplies as it travels through the atmosphere to reach our homes.
As a result, power generation with fossil fuels has a big environmental impact and contributes significantly to global warming. In contrast, a solar-powered home creates zero carbon emissions and does not contribute to climate change. Additionally, your rooftop solar system can help you reduce your carbon footprint by selling excess electricity back to the grid.
When it comes to the environmental impact of solar energy, a lot depends on how your panels are made and where they are installed. For example, solar panels require trace amounts of rare earth metals, which have a higher carbon footprint than most other materials. These metals are often mined in areas where mining is poorly regulated and can cause devastating environmental damage, including poisoning the local water supply.
But solar panel manufacturers who use efficient, smart methods to make their products can greatly decrease the environmental impact of the production process and minimize their carbon footprint. As a result, a solar-powered home can offset the initial carbon emissions from creating its energy in only 2-3 years, leaving decades of pollution-free electricity and other green benefits.
- Reduced Waste
Making solar panels takes a lot of energy, but they have a very small footprint once installed and working. Depending on your electricity rates and where you live, solar panels will offset their lifecycle emissions within two to three years.
The only negative is that when a solar panel reaches the end of its lifespan, it becomes big, bulky sheets of electronic waste. But these can be recycled to produce new solar cells, which helps decrease downstream and upstream emissions by reducing the need for raw materials.
Despite this, recycling isn’t easy, and only about 10% of end-of-life solar modules are recycled worldwide. This is because recycling requires much water and toxic chemicals, such as silicon tetrachloride. This chemical is a health hazard to both humans and the environment.
Solar panels also contain other toxic substances, such as lead and silver. If these are dumped into landfills, they can leach into groundwater, threatening human and animal health and the environment.
Solar panels can also be repurposed as roofing tiles, for example, and there are other ways to reduce their carbon footprint by reusing them. However, these are only possible if the panels are in good condition. The good news is that solar panels require little maintenance besides occasional cleaning after inclement weather. For example, most solar panel installers recommend spraying them with a garden hose to wash off dirt and debris.Share on Facebook «||» Share on Twitter «||» Share on Reddit «||» Share on LinkedIn