One of the main reasons that many people are choosing to heat and power their homes with alternative sources of energy like wind and solar power is that they are relatively inexpensive after the initial setup costs. Mother Nature provides sunlight for people to collect with their solar panels. Another reason that compels some people to choose solar power is because of the environmental benefits of a solar panel installation. These days “green,” energy efficient, and environmentally friendly technologies are in vogue and as the costs of fossil fuels go up, options like solar panel installation will continue to increase in popularity
Most electricity in industrialized nations is produced by burning fossil fuels like coal and by nuclear fission, both of which can have detrimental effects on the environment. When fossil fuels like coal and oil are burned, the combustion of these fuels produces greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane. Environmental scientists have noticed a trend since they began keeping records in the early 20th century that global temperatures have slowly been rising. What is interesting is that this rise in temperature corresponded directly to industrialization and the burning of fossil fuels that release carbon dioxide. The anthropologically produced carbon dioxide traps excess heat in the Earth’s atmosphere that would normally be reflected back into space, thus heating up the planet. A hotter Earth can have severe consequences on climate like causing sea levels to rise, floods, droughts, and powerful storms. Scientists believe that it is necessary to curb the emissions of greenhouse gases before climate change becomes irreversible. By choosing solar panel installation for their homes, homeowners can help to reduce the use of fossil fuels to produce electricity. Some studies have shown that by installing a solar panel, single family homes can reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 20,000 tons per year.
Not only do traditional methods of producing electricity add greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, but they also produce toxins, which can pollute the air and infiltrate the water supply. Nuclear power is thought to be clean and environmentally friendly, but a by product of nuclear fission is nuclear waste, which must be stored in underground vaults. Transportation of these hazardous, radioactive waste products can be dangerous as can the actual storage. The waste can leak out, poisoning the ground and the water supply in the process. Also, nuclear power plants can have meltdowns, which can release toxic, radioactive clouds of gas, which can poison and kill organisms. Burning fossil fuels can also create harmful toxins like sulfur dioxide, which can combine with water vapor to form acid rain. Solar panel installation in a home can help to decrease the demand for power from these traditional sources, reducing the amount of toxins and wastes produced from them.
While a solar panel installation may not completely remove the need for fossil fuels and nuclear power, it is a step in the right direction.