Solar panels play a huge role in the production of clean energy. That’s why they are the main source of renewable energy.
The panels rely on the sun to produce electricity. Consequently, its power is clean and, more importantly, sustainable.
The power generation process also doesn’t produce any global warming emissions. It explains why its popularity keeps increasing and its use almost everywhere, including homes, schools, and office buildings, to mention a few.
After all, everyone wants to reap the benefits of installing solar panels. From affordability to environmental friendliness, the list is long.
Nevertheless, if one was to think outside the box, how green are the solar panels? In the long run, is solar energy sustainable?
The answers lie in analyzing the impact of solar panels on global climate. It is important to focus on the good and the bad for obvious reasons.
Positive Impact of Solar Panels on Global Climate
It is why most people choose solar panels as a source of energy. The following characterizes their good side;
They Offer a Solution to Climate Change
It is no secret that the main contributor to global warming and climate change is burning fossil fuels. Fortunately, that has become a thing of the past when using solar panels.
The panels produce renewable energy that doesn’t produce carbon emissions responsible for environmental pollution. Solar clean energy will protect your surroundings from climate change.
Why not when it reduces global warming emissions drastically? Some studies show that its significance in the reduction is similar to planting around 2 billion trees.
Conservation of Diminishing Natural Resources
Some natural resources such as coal, natural gas, and oil are great energy sources. Unfortunately, they are non-renewable; hence possible to end if used for a long time.
On the other hand, solar panels use sunlight as a source of energy. Since it is renewable, solar panels offer a sustainable source of energy.
Besides sparing natural resources from extinction, solar panels lower carbon emissions and reduce energy prices. That’s because its users no longer rely on fossil fuels to get power.
Solar Panels Will Decrease Air Pollution
Human beings need high-quality air for a healthy life. The same applies to the rest of the living things living in whichever environment.
Unfortunately, that’s hard to achieve when burning fossil fuel as an energy source. It is a process that releases a lot of carbon dioxide.
Besides, it releases methane and other harmful gasses. Consequently, the quality of the air in that environment reduces.
The harmful gases and chemicals are also responsible for acid rain. Its impact is huge, with dire consequences for the ecosystem.
For instance, it lowers the water systems’ pH level. That’s enough to kill aquatic life.
Not even the plants are spared since it pollutes the soil killing the vital nutrients they need to grow, survive and thrive. As for humans, they are at a high risk of getting chronic respiratory conditions and diseases.
Nevertheless, that’s impossible when using solar panels. They produce energy without polluting the air with harmful gases and chemicals.
Conserving the Water Resources
It is no secret that water is life. Despite its importance, one must admit that it is also rare, especially the clean ones fit for consumption.
On top of it, it is an integral part of producing conventional electricity such as hydroelectric power. The manufacturers use it to extract, transport, and generate power.
This process consumes a substantial amount of water. One may argue that no water is lost in power plants, but its contamination or evaporation is common.
On the other hand, solar panels hardly use water to produce power. It decreases the chances of harmful gases and chemicals ending up in water resources.
It also allows preserving clean water, which could have been used to produce electricity.
They Will Lower Carbon Emissions
Energy producers burn petroleum, natural gas, and coal, among other fossil fuels, to produce electricity. In the process, they release many harmful gases, including carbon dioxide.
The significant role of these emissions in global warming and climate change is indisputable. On the other hand, shifting to solar panels lowers these emissions significantly.
After all, the source of solar energy is the sun. It is natural, renewable, and sustainable hence perfect for the environment.
Negative Impact of Solar Panels on Global Climate
It turns out that solar panels have a negative side. Their effects include the following;
Solar panel manufacturing uses harmful chemicals. Their improper disposal can cause soil, water, and air pollution.
Since setting up a solar energy project also requires an expansive piece of land, clearing such a space causes significant soil erosion.
Carbon emissions also arise as professionals manufacture, install and transport solar panels. After all, these processes often use fossil fuels.
Loss of Habitat
This issue arises because a solar power plant requires a big land area. In most cases, solar companies have to clear vegetation and everything else.
In the process, wildlife loses its habitats. Other contributors to habitat loss are soil erosion or compaction and the diversion of water resources.
Use of Toxic Materials and Chemicals
Manufacturers use hydrogen fluoride, sulfuric acid, and hydrofluoric acid, among other toxic chemicals, to clean solar panels’ semiconductors. So, the more solar panels, the more the use of these hazardous substances.
There is also exposure to silicon dust during the manufacturing process. Again, workers can develop poor health due to such materials.
It Uses a Lot of Energy
Solar panels produce a lot of energy but consume a lot of it when mining and manufacturing them. Their transport also uses a lot of energy.
For example, copper and aluminum are necessary to convert quartz to silicon. The process will also consume a lot of heat.
The impact of solar panels on global climate is huge and thus hard to go unnoticed. It is a sword that cuts both sides since it has a good and a bad side.
The good side makes solar panels worth considering when producing renewable energy. Similarly, the bad side makes one wonder whether it is sustainable.
However, one must admit that the good outweighs the bad. Solar energy is also way better than most of the energy sources available.
Its role in combating climate change is undoubtedly huge. It has seen more people move away from finite natural resources.
It also decreases carbon emissions since it uses sunlight to produce electricity. So, as far as power generation is concerned, it is great for the environment.
The problem lies in manufacturing, recycling, and disposing of solar panels. Unfortunately, it is not something that the ideal technologies and policies can’t fix.