Environmental Impact

Soak up the sun, not fossil fuels

Taking advantage of the benefits of solar energy for powering your home or business will not only reduce your electric bill but your carbon footprint as well. Renewable energy, like wind and solar power, is far better for the future of our planet than traditional power sources like coal, gas, and oil. The sun certainly offers the most abundant supply of energy on earth, but are we able to harvest San Diego solar energy as efficiently as other sources? According to the Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA), the answer is yes - “solar energy is the cleanest and most abundant renewable energy source available, and the U.S. has some of the richest solar resources.”

By choosing solar for your home or business, you are making a more sustainable decision for our energy future. Your choice to utilize the sun as a renewable energy source helps eliminate the burning of fossil fuels that are leading us to global warming while simultaneously reducing your individual carbon footprint.

Over 25 years, a 5kW solar electric system is estimated to offset:

  • 298,108 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2), the leading greenhouse gas.
  • 928 pounds of nitrogen oxide (NOX), which creates smog.
  • 840 pounds of sulfur dioxide (SO2), which causes acid rain.
  • 57 pounds of particulates that cause asthma.
  • 470,407 miles driven in an average car, or 18,816 miles a year.

How does solar work?

In order to understand the environmental benefit of solar energy, let’s first start with how solar technology actually works. Solar panels use what’s called the “photovoltaic effect” to create electricity. This effect is the process of converting light into an electrical current. Solar panels are made out of photovoltaic (PV) cells which use a special semiconducting material, such as silicon, to capture sunlight. When the photons in sunlight hit solar panels, their electrons are freed and flow into a direct current (DC). There are metal contacts at the top and bottom of the panels that draw out this DC current so it can be sent to an inverter that takes the DC electricity and converts it to alternating current (AC). This AC power is then sent from your inverter to your electrical panel in order to be used to meet the energy needs of your home or business.

Why is solar better for the environment than traditional power sources?

Now that you have an idea of how solar systems work, we can move on to just how much better for the environment they are than traditional power sources. Solar technology produces electricity without any drilling, fracking or burning, and doesn’t have any hazardous side effects. Solar systems generate electricity without emitting any harmful greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. They simply harness the energy of the sun to meet your power needs. San Diego Solar is one of the most efficient renewable resources out there and it's the single biggest home improvement homeowners can make to positively impact the environment and add value to their homes. One of the advantages of solar energy is reducing your electrical consumption and reliance on fossil fuels immediately and for the long-term! But that’s not the only benefit of solar energy. It also has the potential to increase national security and boost the economy by creating jobs and reducing our dependence on foreign oil.

According to Scientific America, energy security is driving the United States military to renewables. In an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Obama ordered federal agencies to derive 30 percent of their electricity from renewable sources like solar and wind by 2025. But the Department of Defense, the nation’s largest consumer of energy, isn’t going green for environmental reasons alone. Their biggest motivation is to enhance national security.

Producing energy from clean sources rather than from fossil fuels significantly benefits public health as well. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCSUSA), “The air and water pollution emitted by coal and natural gas plants is linked to breathing problems, neurological damage, heart attacks, and cancer. Replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy has been found to reduce premature mortality and lost workdays, and it reduces overall healthcare costs.” Renewable energies, like wind, solar, and hydroelectric systems, generate electricity with no associated air pollution emissions. In addition to not polluting the air, they also don’t pollute water resources like coal mining and natural gas drilling do. Here’s what the UCSUSA has to say about renewables and water pollution: “Wind and solar energy require essentially no water to operate and thus do not pollute water resources or strain supply by competing with agriculture, drinking water systems or other important water needs. In contrast, fossil fuels can have a significant impact on water resources. For example, both coal mining and natural gas drilling can pollute sources of drinking water. Natural gas extraction by hydraulic fracturing (fracking) requires large amounts of water and all thermal power plants, including those powered by coal, gas, and oil, withdraw and consume water for cooling.”

Growing our renewable energy use would allow the United States to eliminate harmful carbon-intensive energy generation and significantly reduce our national global warming emissions. Millions of people around the world have already made the decision to go solar – consider joining the San Diego solar revolution today and help us change the way our world is powered for future generations.