The financial benefits of using solar power as a renewable energy for both commercial businesses and domestic residences are well documented. However, the additional benefits which solar panels bring to the environmental debate are also worth serious consideration.
With the focus on cleaner power initiatives now a truly global objective, solar energy is seeing its stock rise significantly. After all, the sun is an immense resource which can be harnessed relatively easily to generate non-polluting, sustainable electricity. The bottom line is, installing photovoltaic (PV) solar systems in any given climate will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and diminish the collective reliance on fossil fuels worldwide.
When installed, a domestic solar power system offsets around 100,000 lbs of CO2 in 20 years on average. Research shows that this is the equivalent of driving a car for over 100,000 miles. The reported 9% fall in UK carbon emissions last year represents the largest reduction in a growing economy since 1880 and government figures show that energy from renewable sources now represent almost 20% of total electricity supplied, which is a record high. Solar energy has played its part in delivering these positive figures and its clear new and burgeoning technology in solar electricity can go a long way in helping to reduce the carbon footprint of a home or business.
There is an argument that replacing utility power with solar energy still has an environmental impact given the production of PV modules involves a lot of labour and resource-intensive materials. However, compared with the ultra-intensive processes of shale fracking, oil drilling, nuclear power and coal mining, the energy levels and waste management impact of solar panel production is a fraction of these major industries. Depending on the type of energy application, the use of natural gas or coal can generate and emit between 10 and 50 times as much greenhouse gas versus a solar installation.
In short, the environmental benefits of solar energy are simply too important to ignore: it's sustainable, green and the technology is more affordable than ever. And besides, a solar spill sounds a much nicer prospect than an oil spill!