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6 Environmental Benefits of Solar Energy

Publish Date: April 8th, 2024

Happy Earth Month, Colorado! We’re excited to share the environmental benefits of solar with you. Installing a home solar system on your roof is one of the very tangible ways you can impact our home planet. There are a ton of other benefits that come from solar power, of course; things like financial incentives, energy independence, and making a commitment to a better future.

This Earth Month, we’re all about the environmental benefits of solar. When it comes to taking action to help heal our planet, there are so many challenges that it may feel overwhelming and unclear where to start. We invite you to be part of existing solutions, like solar. This is how change happens –through individual steps that contribute to collective action. Maybe your sustainable actions are small, and only you know about them, like producing less waste. Or maybe they’re big, like getting your solar system installed, and your neighbors see the change. Either way, you’re making an impact.

Your responsible actions are an essential piece of the forward momentum towards a bright and resilient future. And they do matter.

At Namaste Solar, we know that solar power is an important part of our clean energy future. And its adoption will make our Earth, humans, and other beings, healthier.

But we know that there are plenty of ways that this truth has been muddied. Because of the buzz of conflicting information, it makes sense if you feel uncertain about the environmental benefits of solar.

So, what exactly are those environmental benefits? How does solar energy mitigate climate change, heal our planet, and create a more livable future?

Let’s take a look.

Environmental Benefits of Solar Energy That Have an Impact

The sun is an enormous ball of energy that graces us with light and warmth. And when it comes to how much energy we can harvest, there’s massive potential. We’re aware that solar power isn’t perfect and there needs to be continued innovation, especially in the realm of after-care, to ensure its viability. But the great thing about harvesting and using solar energy is that it creates far more positive environmental impacts than negative ones.

Some environmental benefits of solar are:

  1. Reduction in greenhouse gases According to the United Nations, a gas-fired power plant emits around 400 grams worth of C02 emissions to generate of electricity, while a coal-fired power plant (with carbon capture and storage technology) emits about 200 grams to generate one kilowatt hour. Comparatively, CO2 emissions from solar energy were in the range of 25 to 32 grams of CO2 per kilowatt hour of electricity – with the existence of any emissions being attributed to the manufacturing process. And the report was from the year 2007. Solar technology has greatly improved since then.
  2. Improved local air quality – Sulfur dioxide emissions are primarily the result of burning coal, nitrogen oxide emissions are a byproduct of fossil fuel combustion, and soot and mercury emissions are derive from coal-fired power plants. Using a renewable energy source, like solar, cuts down on these emissions and improves air quality for humans and other wildlife.
  3. Less health problems related to poor air quality - A cleaner future is good for the Earth and humans. Air pollution has been linked to heart disease, stroke, and lung cancer. According to the World Health Organization, interventions in the household energy sector are essential to reduce the burden of disease. In other words, putting a solar system on your roof helps to clean up our air and reduce disease.
  4. Reduced water use – Nationwide, fossil fuel and nuclear power plants have been found to withdraw as much water as all farms and more than four times as much as all residences. And since this water comes from lakes and rivers, it directly impacts local ecosystems and competes with other uses. A solar system doesn’t need this water to operate, therefore reducing the amount of water needed to generate electricity. While some water is used indirectly during the manufacturing process, that amount is immensely smaller than the amount used in fossil fuel production.
  5. Providing ecosystem services When solar installations are designed to work hand-in-hand with the environment, they can actually provide ecosystem services. Ecosystem services are the direct and indirect contributions that ecosystems provide for human wellbeing. The Solinator Garden, for example, is a 2,700-panel solar farm that is integrated with a pollinator garden and provides the ecosystem service of enhancing biodiversity. We’re working on adding more ecosystem services to some of our other sites. For example, we’re introducing sheep grazing to two community solar garden sites in the Platteville and Greeley. The goal is for the sheep to graze down vegetation, reduce or eliminate the need for mechanical mowing (and pollutants from combustion engines), and support a local shepherd.
  6. Being an accessible renewable technology – The move to renewable energy is a massive transition, and many of the changes need to happen at the systemic level. Home solar, however, is one of the sustainable solutions that is accessible to homeowners. And not only is solar a sustainable piece of our energy future, it also comes with significant financial benefits for homeowners. In sunny states like Colorado, it can be a real win-win.

The environmental benefits of solar power are massive. And it’s clear that solar energy has long-lasting and significant positive effects on the environment. These effects are a vital part of creating a livable future. The faster, and more widespread, we adopt cleaner energy technologies, the faster we’ll get to enjoy the benefits of less greenhouse gases, improved air quality and health, reduced water use, and stronger ecosystems.

Creating a Livable, Regenerative Future

If you’ve been looking around the solar energy industry at all, you might have come across information that paints a different picture than the one above. Don’t worry, we’ve seen it, too. So, what about the sources that talk about the negative impacts of solar energy? We bust those myths here. You can also check out this previous blog where we did some myth busting regarding solar advertising.

But the evidence is clear that solar energy is a net positive for the environment. It’s an essential piece of the puzzle for a sustainable and resilient future.

If you’re already a Namaste Solar customer, congrats! You are part of the clean energy movement. If you’d like to take things further, we invite you to consider electrifying your home. We can help with solar system expansions, battery storage, EV chargers, and heat pumps.

Are you still solar curious? We’d love to chat. Our solar advisors are here to help; we focus on giving you the information you need to make a decision for your home. No pushy sales pitch here! To get in touch, click the button below.

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