How Does Solar Energy Help the Environment?
The Ugly Facts of Climate Change
It’s hard to speak about climate change without using frightening statistics. The science is conclusive. Just this month the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) stated that our planet’s temperature is rising at an alarming rate, and faster than we initially thought.
By the year 2030 - unless we act now - there will be even more extreme drought, wildfires, floods and food shortages for hundreds of millions of people due to the rise in temperature from dangerous greenhouse gas emissions. Entire cities or countries face catastrophic consequences from the changes in our planet’s atmosphere and ecosystem.
If governments around the world don’t rapidly transition from traditional fossil fuel energy sources that are polluting our environment (i.e., coal, oil and natural gas produced mainly by power plants), dire consequences from extreme weather events are predicted. There is no room for argument; sustainable energies like solar reduce air pollution and get our planet back on track for future generations.
How Warm is Too Warm for Our Planet?
The year 2030 is right around the corner. In 12 years scientists say our planet will be 1.5C degrees warmer. Doesn’t sound like a lot? It is. Scientists predict that 1.5C degrees of warming could kill up to 90% of our coral reefs. This is a major loss to an important ecosystem that keeps our planet - and the human race - alive and healthy.3 If the reefs go, the effects will be disastrous.
And if the temperature rises 2C degrees? Sea levels will rise nearly a foot globally. Take a look at what climate change is doing right now to glaciers in this CNN video from Reuters photographer, Lucas Jackson. Sea levels have risen by 7-8 inches since 1900, and half of that happened in the last 25 years. It’s easy to see how flooding can occur as our planet continues to heat up.
A Reminder About GHGs
Dangerous greenhouse gases - or GHGs - are polluting our environment and our air quality suffers. Gases like carbon dioxide (CO2 ) and methane hug the ground and trap heat that would otherwise keep rising to keep our planet cool.5
Carbon dioxide from burning toxic fossil fuels like coal, natural gas and oil6 is the worst offender; it is responsible for the majority of pollution we breathe. “By transitioning to clean energy, like solar, we will sharply reduce the carbon, sulfur and mercury pollution that come from burning fossil fuels, which doctors and scientists say will save 60,000 American lives each year and dramatically reduce the rates of heart disease, asthma attacks, respiratory diseases and even cancer.” - SEIA
CO2 remains in our climate system for a very long time. How long? Thousands of years, states the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Think about that. Thousands of years. It’s reported that even if we hit zero emissions by 2030, the earth still needs a very long time to heal.
Solar plants produce zero emissions or waste. That pretty much says it all.
Solar Power Makes a Global Difference
Let’s state the obvious: power from the sun is sustainable and it’s not going away. Better yet? There are no dangerous emissions from energy generated through solar panels.
Solar panels using photovoltaic technologies produce clean, emission free electricity resulting in strong environmental benefits. and making it easy for more people to make a positive environmental impact by going solar.
Did you know that solar energy also reduces water pollution? Photovoltaic solar cells don’t need water to operate. Most manufacturing processes need some kind of water for production, but not solar panels. Converting to solar energy doesn’t strain local water supplies… nor pollute them.
Fossil fuels are not renewable, they are expensive to produce, they are damaging to our environment, and they’re finite. Don’t forget - energy from the sun is free, sustainable, clean and renewable.
Making a Positive Change with Solar Energy
It’s not only government that must make changes for the future of our planet, everyone can make a change. Sustainable energy companies, homeowners, landlords, utility companies… together we can deploy solar panels one rooftop at a time to help rid our environment of dangerous GHGs and give our planet a healthy, bright future.
Organizations such as RE100 - a collaborative, global initiative - are gaining huge momentum as they unite the most influential companies around the world who have committed to 100% renewable power. Take a look at the major companies who are part of RE100 for positive environmental change. They are among the most influential and notable companies in the world, many of whom touch our lives daily.
These companies and many more use two-thirds of the world’s electricity to create the products and services that we use every day. But the RE100 companies are making a difference. Switching to renewables makes an incredibly huge impact by building a low carbon economy. Such great news...
And companies like Salesforce and Kaiser Permanente are adopting solar and wind energy with battery storage through Power Purchase Agreements, or PPAs. More good news.
It’s Clear: Americans Want Solar
Although the United States pulled itself from the Paris climate accord last year, states and municipalities across America have continued to push, adopt and even accelerate policies to reduce their carbon footprint. Everyone is moving forward to reduce dangerous emissions - with or without approval from our administration.
In fact, a 2018 poll by SEIA states that the majority of Americans (both Democrats and Republicans) agree that solar can help meet our energy needs while replacing old, outdated and expensive power plants.Citizens across the country want clean air for their families and to move away from fossil fuels. As a nation we know it’s critical for future generations.
Reducing Your Carbon Footprint
You can join HomeLink Pros with Sunrun and reduce the need to burn fossil fuels by going solar. Your personal effort to convert to solar energy makes a major difference. Every individual or family that converts to solar helps mitigate the effects of climate change not only in the neighborhood, but around the world.