Comparing Solar to Coal Power Emissions
When you compare solar renewable energy systems with coal or gas based electricity production, Solar still comes out the clean energy winner. Like solar power wind turbines emissions are mostly generated during manufacturing. Once the turbine is up and spinning, though turbines generate more carbon emissions than solar energy systems, it’s nearly zero.
Coal Power plants produce a fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions, more than any other single source. There are also constant chemical emissions from coal processing. Coal emits sulfur dioxide, which is a factor in acid rain and respiratory illnesses. The processing of coal in energy production has heavy Nitrogen oxides emissions. These NOx emissions make smog and worsen respiratory ailments.
Installed solar panels do not emit measurable carbon gases when they are generating electricity. That makes solar renewable and clean. That is one reason solar energy systems are so popular to those focused on carbon emissions or air pollution. The process for manufacturing solar panels, however, have some activists concerned.
Production Issues and Solar Renewable Solutions
The manufacture of the solar panels you install has some environmentalists concerned. Their main concern is the amount of energy needed to melt and purify silicon, a main component of solar panels. A number of studies have shown Solar Energy (PV) systems can produce the equivalent of the energy used to produce them within 1 to 4 years. Since Solar PV panels are rated for 25 years, they will far outproduce the energy that manufactured them. Consumers are reporting 30 years or more lifespans, so this seems to be reasonable.
Chemicals Used in Production
There are hazardous chemicals used in the production of PV panels. Some production of solar renewable technologies use heavy metals and heat transfer of hazardous chemicals. An alternative method of manufacturing is available as a solution to the use of chemical hazards. It will take a little time to implement it in a commercial manufacturing setting.
Clearing Land For Commercial Use
Lastly, for large scale commercial utility sized solar panel arrays, farmland may need to be cleared to make room for panels. Other solar power plants might need large amounts of water for cleaning solar collectors. Using vast amounts of ground water for the cleaning and cooling can impact the ecosystem of the area. By recovering and re-cycling the water used, a plant can lessen the impact of large water usage. When solar panels are installed on light commercial and residential rooftops, land clearing is not an issue. At that level, the panels don’t use much water and there is no question the solar renewable energy source is as clean as it is renewable.
In spite of the potential manufacturing issues, the long life of the panels and the lack of carbon output while generating electricity offset emissions. Additionally, secondary industries like recycling programs and alternative manufacturing are being introduced to further reduce the eco-footprint.
MN Solar Renewable Energy Resource
If you’re In Minnesota, and interested in a transition to solar as a clean renewable energy ,you’re in luck. Renewable Solar Resources (RSR) spent years working to support the transition to solar energy systems on residential and commercial properties. The RSR team believes in a clean energy future and finds solar to be an incredibly reliable clean energy source. Solar panels, micro-inverters and solar storage continue to grow in efficiency, making solar a reliable choice for clean, renewable energy.