What is the environmental impact of using solar energy?
The environmental impact of using solar energy is negative at the start with the cost of the materials and the cost of production of the equipment. It balances out after a few years and the impact is then positive.
With solar hot water, it is the cost of the tank and the evacuated tubes on your roof, and the small electric pump to circulate the water. After that initial expense the only ongoing impact is the small electric pump. The initial cost should be recovered in two or three years, depending on your local price of fuel and after that the environmental impact is positive.
With solar panels that generate electricity (PV, or photovoltaic cells), the cost of the materials and the cost of production is the negative environmental impact. Again after a few years that impact is balanced out by the positive features of generating your own electricity from the sun.
- When people are producing solar panels they have leftover stuff like Silicon Tetrachloride, and they have to dispose of it, which can pollute.
- When creating solar panels the manufacturers have to use energy, which pollutes the air, creates heavy metal emissions, and greenhouse gases.
- Can't use solar energy during the night
- Can't use solar energy when it is very dense and foggy outside
- Using solar panels doesn't pollute the air.
- Using solar panels doesn't release carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide, sulphur dioxide, or mercury into the atmosphere as many traditional forms of electrical generation do.
- The solar panels operate silently, have no moving parts, and don't release offensive smells.
- Doesn't contribute to acid rain, global warming, or smog.