The shift towards solar energy is a key step towards achieving energy independence and lowering electricity costs. In today’ world, given the energy crisis and economic uncertainty, its financial advantages are undeniable. But, what about the benefits of solar energy for the environment?
Adopting solar energy on a large scale can make a major positive impact on the planet. Thankfully, many countries around the world have started recognizing that fact. Here are some eye-opening stats:
- In Europe, the REPowerEU plan‘s goal is to boost the use of renewable energy sources to 45% of the EU’s total energy supply by 2030, reducing and eventually eliminating the dependence on imported fossil fuels while also contributing to the protection of the planet.
- In the US, the goal is to reduce gas emissions 50-52% below 2005 levels in 2030 and reach 100% carbon pollution-free electricity by 2035. The government aims to deliver 40% of the benefits from federal investments in climate and clean energy to disadvantaged communities.
- Did you know that Sweden has successfully reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 27% since becoming one of the first countries to implement a national carbon tax in 1991?
- As of today, over forty countries have implemented a national carbon tax, some of which are Ukraine, Argentina, Canada, Japan, and Singapore.
Now, let’s take a deep dive into the environmental benefits of solar energy.
Solar energy decreases greenhouse gas emissions
Ever wondered the biggest environmental benefit of solar energy? If so, our answer would be decreased greenhouse gas emissions.
Fossil fuels release high levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other pollutants into the atmosphere when they are burned. That is why they cause severe health and ecological damage. Unlike them, solar energy is free, renewable, and infinite as a green source of energy.
Solar rooftop solutions generate electricity without producing any harmful emissions. This means that solar energy significantly decreases greenhouse gas emissions thus reducing air pollution. A great way to combat climate change, isn’t it?
On average, coal contributes over 16 times the amount of CO2 emissions, while natural gas contributes over 7 times the amount of CO2 emissions compared to solar energy.
Solar energy projects the Earth’s water reserves
Did you know that traditional electricity production can use thousands of liters of water each year?
Water is used for cooling generators, processing and refining fuel, and transporting fuel through pipes.
On average, a coal-fired power plant consumes 530 Litres of water to produce 1000 kWh of electricity while 38 L of water is required to extract enough natural gas to generate the same amount of power, according to a study from the Virginia Water Resources Research Center. In contrast, generating power through solar panels does not require any water, thus significantly conserving our current water reserves.
Solar energy helps decrease the risk of oil spills
One of the environmental benefits of solar energy is that it helps reduce the risk of oil spills.
Oil spills are a major environmental hazard, posing serious damage to marine ecosystems and coastal communities. By reducing our dependence on oil, solar energy can play a vital role in safeguarding our oceans, beaches, and coastal regions.
Relying less on oil simply means producing and transporting less oil which obviously decrease the risk of oil spills from tankers and drilling platforms. In short, using less electricity comes with less dependence on oil. Guess, what the alternate green solution is?
Solar energy slows down climate change
Generating electricity from solar panels produces no greenhouse gases, so it can play a huge role in reducing negative environmental effects if used widely.
It is worth noting that all forms of energy production have some impact on the natural environment. With that being said, it has been proven that the environmental impact of solar energy is minimal compared to that of fossil fuel energy.
- Coal ranges from about 800 – 1250 grams of CO2 per kWh.
- Natural gas can range from 360 – 575 grams of CO2 per kWh.
- With solar energy powering a home or business, there is no burning of fuel and no emissions from energy production. That’s why solar energy is one of the best ways to tackle accelerated climate change.