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Environmental Benefits of Solar Energy

Investing in solar energy does not only benefit you in electricity cost and tax credits. It also provides an abundance of environmental benefits. Solar panels create electricity that is natural, renewable, and emission-free. Decreasing greenhouse gas emissions, carbon footprints, and water consumption are just a few of the benefits. On top of this, solar energy also increases your local air quality. By having capital in solar energy, you share the fight against climate change.  Some of the key environmental benefits are as follows: 

Decrease Greenhouse Gas Emissions  

Electricity produced without solar energy uses fossil fuels like coal and natural gas which can emit harmful air toxins like carbon dioxide. In addition to harmful emissions, extracting fossil fuels is expensive; it can also negatively impact the environment. We can diminish the use of fossil fuels by investing in energy-efficient systems such as solar panels. Solar energy comes from the sun and is free, abundant, and the most consistent energy source.  

Increase Local Air Quality 

Fossil fuels decrease air quality by generating harmful gases like methane, sulfur dioxide, and nitrous oxide. Gasses such as these impact your general health and lead to health issues. Some health problems may result in lifelong conditions such as chronic bronchitis, pneumonia, asthma, allergies, and respiratory and cardiovascular problems.    Big cities such as New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago produce mass amounts of these harmful pollutants that make the air “thick” or foggy. According to research by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) aims to achieve 100% renewable energy power systems by 2045. This will result in very few air pollutants and improve the overall health of residents. 

Reduce Carbon Footprint 

Your carbon footprint accounts for all greenhouse gases produced by everyday activities –primarily focusing on carbon dioxide. The use of fossil fuels is the primary benefactor of high carbon footprints in society today. For example, an average household consumes 10,399 kWh per year. Fossil fuel such as coal produces 800-1250 grams of CO2 per kWh2, and natural gas has up to 360-575 grams of CO2 per kWh2. By switching to solar, you can eliminate the amount of carbon emission to that of burning 3,718 grams of coal annually. 

Reduce Water Consumption 

How is water related to electricity or fossil fuels? The simplest answer is hydraulic fracking. Hydraulic fracking is the process of fracturing bedrock formations by using water mixed with sand and other chemicals. Fracking forces water into cracks of the bedrock to open further for oil and gas extractions. 1,158 gallons of water is equivalent to extracting and refining one barrel of oil. Conversely, solar panels generate natural energy, excluding water and negative environmental impact. 

Combat Against Climate Change 

Global temperatures are rising through greenhouse gas pollution from burning fossil fuels. These changing air conditions have affected severe environmental and public health issues. Increasing temperatures expose environments to melting glaciers and rising sea levels. They also lead to natural disasters such as cyclones, floods, wildfires, and extreme drought.  Moving to solar energy is the first step in helping to protect the environment from climate change. Going solar decreases greenhouse gas emissions, shrinks your carbon footprint, and slows down climate change. 

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