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Are Solar Panels Good for the Environment?

solar panels on hill side

When it comes to renewable energy, there’s tons of misinformation and confusion out there. Solar panels are no different. The truth is that solar panels are great for the environment.

They have a few negatives, but the positives vastly outweigh those. We dive into both the pros and cons here, so you have a thorough understanding of the true environmental impact of solar panels.

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Environmental Perks of Solar Panels

There’s no doubt that modern solar panels do more good than harm, but to understand why this is the case, it’s essential to dive into all the perks that solar panels offer. Here are four of the most notable environmental perks of solar panels.

solar panels on the field
Image Credit: Pixabay

Renewable Energy

Fossil fuels, coal, and natural gas are all finite resources, and they require a bit of work to access. With solar panels, once the panels are installed, there’s nothing else that you need to do to access the energy. The sun rises in the morning and sets in the evening, and throughout the day, the solar panel soaks up the energy!

Lower Carbon Emissions

While some carbon emissions go into the production of solar panels, it’s a minute amount compared to the amount released when burning fossil fuels. Even better, once you install the solar panels, there are zero carbon emissions during daily operations. This is a massive environmental perk for solar panels!

Coal Production
Image Credit: pixel2013, Pixabay

No Toxic Chemicals

While there are rumors that circulate about toxic chemicals going into the production of solar panels, it simply isn’t true. Manufacturers use silica, tempered glass, and wire in the production of solar panels, all of which are natural products.

Requires No Water

Not only are solar panels renewable and carbon-friendly, but they also don’t require any water to operate. This is a big deal because some resources, like coal, require tons of water to use. During droughts and other water shortages, this severely limits the power supply.

With solar power, as long as the sun rises, you’re harvesting energy — no additional resources needed!

close up of solar panels reflecting the clouds
Image Credit: jniittymaa0, Pixabay

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Environmental Drawbacks of Solar Panels

While the perks of solar panels far outweigh the drawbacks, that doesn’t mean they’re perfect.

Battery Disposal

The batteries associated with solar panels are by far the most notable drawback. You need the batteries to store the energy for use when the sun isn’t out, but those batteries aren’t the best for the environment.

The disposal process is a bit complicated, and depending on the type of battery that you go with, the acquisition process can be problematic too. Still, it’s far better than energy derived from fossil fuels.

car battery
Image Credit: jpj2000nl, Pixabay

Produces Other Wastes

Eventually, you need to replace the solar panels, which inevitably produces waste. The good news is that there are great processes for handling, recycling, and disposing of solar panel waste, which is far better than carbon emissions.

While we know how to clean up the physical waste associated with solar panels and do an excellent job with it, we’re not quite sure how to clean up the carbon emissions associated with other energy sources.

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Other Perks of Solar Panels

While there are tons of environmental perks with solar panels, the advantages don’t stop there. Here are four perks of solar panels beyond being good for the environment.

Creates Jobs

There’s a great deal of talk about renewable energy taking jobs from the fossil fuel industry. While that’s true, what gets left out is that renewables also create a ton of jobs. From the manufacturing process to the maintenance and development of solar panels, there is plenty of work to go around.

They may be in a different sector, but the job opportunities are growing. If you’re looking to get into a new field, the solar industry is a great choice.

installing solar panels
Image Credit: surasak jailak, Shutterstock

Increases Property Values

Since solar panels lower your monthly energy bills and the upfront cost is the primary drawback, having a property with solar panels already installed instantly improves the property value.

While it doesn’t completely offset the cost, it is something to consider if you’re contemplating selling the property in the future. You will recoup some of the initial investment costs, and until then, you get to benefit from the lower energy bills every month.

Lowers Monthly Energy Bills

While there’s undoubtedly an upfront cost associated with installing solar panels, you get to see savings every month afterward in the form of lower energy bills. Solar panels generate their own power, and everything that they generate is a net gain for you.

If you have a strong enough system, you won’t have to pay anything to power your home! That said, you should put some money back for replacement batteries and panels later on. But you can realistically see 15 years pass before you have to spend a dime on energy bills if you’re using solar panels.

house powered by solar energy
Image Credit: Robert Kneschke, Shutterstock

Provides Consistent Energy

Having your own energy source is a huge perk. With solar panels, you don’t have to worry about droughts and most severe weather.

Solar panels give you consistent energy that you can rely on, and if you have a big enough battery bank, it’ll last you through the evenings and cloudy days. Consistent energy that you don’t need to rely on anyone else for is a huge perk of solar panels!

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Final Thoughts

While there’s a ton of misinformation about solar panels out there, don’t let anyone fool you into believing that they’re bad for the environment. While they’re not perfect, they’re a super environmentally friendly option compared to the alternatives!


Featured Image Credit: Piqsels

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