There’s been somewhat of an increase in popularity when it comes to solar power, with many properties both residential and commercial opting to utilize this renewable energy source through local companies offering a solar panel installation service. But how environmentally-friendly is it? In this article, we’ll be looking at whether or not solar power provides benefits to the environment or whether it’s damaging it.
The Manufacturing Of Solar Panels
Before diving into whether or not they’re beneficial for the environment when in use, it’s good to assess the manufacturing of solar panels and how much that impact that may have. Solar panels begin with a common material called quartz and this can be something that’s found in your home, usually on things like your kitchen worktops. Due to the dangers the quartz creates for miners who mine for the material, they’re finding themselves moving towards quartz-rich sands instead.
The manufacturing of the quartz into polysilicon is one that scientists have managed to create through recycling silicon tetrachloride back to the polysilicon in order to reuse it for the production of more solar panels. So with that being said, the manufacturing process itself is pretty sustainable.
What carbon footprint is created with solar panels?
As electricity is produced from solar energy, there’s no emissions of greenhouse gases, fossil fuels, etc. However, there is energy required to make the solar panels but the energy that they produce ends up exceeding what’s used to manufacture them in the first place. So it’s using up a little electrical energy in order to reproduce a lot more sustainable and renewable energy.
And with new technologies, there’s a lot more focus being put on the creation of solar panels to extend their lifetime in order to get the most out of it.
Does maintenance of solar panels impact the environment?
Keeping them clean is likely the only maintenance needed and so the only thing in this case to assess is the amount of water that’s used. In this case it’s around 20 gallons of water per megawatt-hour of electricity. This is less than the typical amount of water that a family would use in a year.
With solar panel cleaning, it’s not something that needs to be done very often either.
The impact on wildlife
One of the biggest concerns when it comes to our environment is creating a world in which it is healthy for other animals to thrive and survive. The solar industry is often looking at ways to improve the impact it can have on animal and plant life when it comes to the solar farms that are created.
As such, there are pre-clearing surveys done to guarantee the safety of local wildlife before the process of the solar projects would even begin. This is certainly more done than can be said for other fuel and energy types.
The reality of solar panels is that this is the cleanest energy source that we have available and it’s something that could certainly help save our planet from getting worse. It’s worth it for more individuals and businesses to make the leap over to solar energy where possible.