The Economic and Environmental Impacts of Solar Energy

September 16, 2023

As more people start shifting toward clean energy, you’ve likely heard about the many ways solar energy can benefit the environment. One of the most common benefits of solar power is that it can reduce carbon emissions and our reliance on nonrenewable resources like fossil fuels. But in what ways does solar energy affect the economy and environment?

Below, we’ll help you understand how solar energy can have a positive impact on your local economy and environment.

The Economic Benefits of Solar Energy

One of the reasons many businesses and homeowners are switching to solar is due to the positive economic benefit it has for local communities. Some of the ways solar power can economically impact your family and community include:

Solar Lowers Your Utility Bill

Investing in solar energy can significantly reduce the amount you pay each month for your utility bills. This form of energy relies on ultraviolet (UV) rays, and the clean energy created can offset the costs associated with your electricity usage at home. As a result, you’ll likely end up paying less over time, allowing you to recuperate your costs for your investment.

Some utility companies allow you to sell any excess energy your panels produce through a process called net metering. Others in your community can benefit from the clean energy you’ve created while you enjoy a lower monthly electricity bill.

Solar Creates Jobs

As more people become interested in installing solar panels, more energy employees are needed to meet demand. This sector requires jobs for manufacturing, installation and maintenance. By investing in solar, you’re also investing in a new job market, bolstering your local economy.

Solar Assists During Emergencies

Numerous natural disasters can disrupt the power supply from the grid, including earthquakes, hurricanes and floods. Fortunately, solar panels provide a powerful alternative when traditional electricity fails during emergencies. Even during a natural disaster, the sun can still provide the energy needed to power solar panels when energy sources, such as fossil fuels, are unavailable.

Using solar power will also help reduce your carbon emissions, which have an impact on climate change and contribute to worsening natural disasters.

Solar Incentives for Installation

Installing solar panels makes you eligible for federal incentives, such as the solar investment tax credit. Many states also offer their own incentives, including North Carolina. These incentives can help reduce the cost of what you initially spent on the purchase and residential or commercial installation of your solar panels, which contributes to the economy.

How Does Solar Energy Affect the Environment?

There are also many positive environmental impacts of solar power, which include the following:

Solar Energy Is Better for the Environment

Collecting fossil fuels for electricity is responsible for damage to certain local ecosystems. Many plants and animals suffer, as habitats are destroyed and flora is removed to create space for energy operations such as drilling infrastructure.

Alternatively, clean energy sources like solar can help ecosystems flourish once again. The installation of solar plants requires much less space and can be installed on top of buildings. Further, people and wildlife don’t experience air or water pollution from solar panels.

The production of fossil fuels requires mining, burning and drilling, which release greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) into the atmosphere. These GHG emissions, such as carbon dioxide, have detrimental impacts on the environment. By opting for solar energy and other clean energy sources, we can limit GHG emissions and help protect the planet from further damage.

Overall, solar energy can help your community restore ecosystems, reduce pollution and reduce green house gas emissions, all of which is vital to protecting humans, wildlife, and entire ecosystems. This in turn makes air more breathable and decreases the amount of water necessary to generate power.

Solar Helps With Land Use

Many traditional forms of electricity require a significant amount of space for energy plants, including a lot of valuable land. Fortunately, solar systems don’t have the same land use requirements. The benefit of solar systems is they can be mounted on your roof or placed in a remote area with barren land. As new technology comes out, solar systems will be better equipped to assist with land usage. Overall, your local environment can benefit from the minimal land use solar systems require.

Solar Reduces Carbon Emissions

Unlike fossil fuels, which require mining, drilling, transporting and burning to produce elctricity, solar panels are renewable energy sources that don’t release the harmful carbon emissions that damage waterways and the atmosphere. These pollutants are also damaging to the health of wildlife and ourselves, and reducing them could save 25,000 lives. Using renewable solar power will help reduce our dependence on finite resources that damage the environment, helping keep the Earth healthy and protecting our infrastructure.

Overall, the environmental impact of solar energy is generally favorable. However, it’s important to note that harvesting the materials for solar panels, such as specific metals and glass, can impact the environment, as can the construction of the panels themselves. Still, experts say solar panels can make up for the energy required to produce them in one to four years. These systems can also work for 30 years, meaning solar panels can make up for their environmental production costs multiple times throughout their useful life.

There are also some concerns about land use regarding solar energy. Some worry that solar panel installation for large-scale projects can damage or degrade the land and contribute to habitat loss. However, the potential damage to land and habitats can be minimized or even eliminated by installing large solar panel projects in low-quality locations, such as abandoned mining facilities to avoid causing land degradation in existing habitats, Installing panels on top of existing buildings can also reduce land use.

Naturally, some concerns about solar panels exist. Fortunately, the potential problems can be remedied by careful planning and attention to proper disposal methods.

Recycling Solar Panels

If you’re considering solar panels, you should be aware of how you can further reduce your environmental impact.

One of the main concerns with solar panels and the environment is the hazardous materials that certain solar panels require during manufacturing. A solution is to recycle solar panels, which is more than possible but isn’t as common as it should be among solar panel owners.

Additionally, solar panels can use precious metals, such as silver or indium, which could become scarce if solar panels aren’t properly recycled. One of the problems with solar panel recycling is a lack of awareness about the materials required during the manufacturing process and how they can be recovered for future production. If you’re trying to do your part for the environment and are considering solar panels, you should consider what you’re going to do when you need to replace parts or the panels reach the end of their life cycles.

Talk with your solar panel provider about the proper way to recycle solar panels and where you can find a recycling location that will take them. Some providers will even handle the recycling process for you, ensuring it’s done correctly. Improper disposal could waste precious materials and cause potentially hazardous substances to harm the environment.

As we rely on crude oil and other fuel that has high carbon emissions, the pollutants contribute to climate change, which is responsible for rising sea levels, changing weather patterns, melting glaciers and other concerning issues. Using clean energy like solar should be part of a global effort to eliminate carbon emissions, and it’s essential for homeowners and businesses to do their part by making the switch to protect the environment and our health.

Trust 8MSolar as Your Solar Power Provider

Overall, solar power can help your local economy, environment, family and community. At 8MSolar, we take care to keep our solar systems as safe as possible, from commercial and residential solar installation to day-to-day use. We’re experts in the solar industry and can assist with installation, regular servicing and repairs for customers in North Carolina.

We’re also certified by multiple organizations, including the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) and Licensing Board for General Contractors of North Carolina, ensuring you can trust us as your solar service provider.

Contact us to learn more about solar installations.

This content was originally published here.

The Economic and Environmental Impacts of Solar Energy