Environmental impact of solar

  1. Zero mercury emissions. You’re probably aware that many bodies of water contain enough mercury to cause safety concerns. Did you know that the primary source of mercury pollution is coal-fired power plants? Solar panels don’t cause this problem.
  2. No acid rain. Fossil fuels contain small quantities of sulfur. When burned, these can travel long distances before reacting in the atmosphere to form sulfuric acid — harming forests, cropland, lakes and rivers. Solar panels have no emissions and don’t contribute to this problem.
  3. No smog. Coal burning power plants emit gases that lead to the formation of unhealthy smog. Not so with solar.
  4. No local airborne particulates. Because solar panels generate energy without burning anything, they do not release harmful particulates into the air.
  5. Reduced greenhouse gas emissions. Manufacturing and transporting any product creates emissions. Solar panels are one of the few that mitigate their own impact. Studies have shown that at least 89 percent of harmful emissions from electricity generation are eliminated by switching to solar.
  6. No thermal pollution. Many conventional power plants are cooled by water from nearby lakes and streams. When this heated water is returned, it can raise the temperature of the water enough to disrupt aquatic ecosystems.
  7. No radioactive waste. Some claim that nuclear power is “clean energy” because its operation does not result in carbon emissions. However, it generates alarmingly hazardous radioactive nuclear waste that stays toxic for millennia. Solar doesn’t cause this problem.
  8. Minimal impact on landscape. Unlike power plants, solar panels can be installed unobtrusively on already existing structures.
  9. Safe for wildlife. Because solar panels have no moving parts and no emissions once installed, they pose no harm to birds or other wildlife.
  10. Reduces need for additional fossil fuel power plants. Growth in demand for electricity is predicted to continue to rise through 2040 and beyond. The more power generated locally by solar panels, the fewer new conventional plants will need to be built.
  11. Encourages wise energy use. To get the most from their solar electric systems and minimize use of conventional electricity, many solar homeowners install energy-saving appliances and other devices.
  12. Provides an opportunity to educate others about the environment. Few things are more helpful to the environment than helping people understand why it should be cared for. Solar panels are great conversation starters and open up the opportunity to encourage others to make green choices.