What is the environmental impact of my solar system? Your solar system will not only impact your immediate environment but also save you some money. With the skyrocketing electricity bills, it is crucial that you consider solar panel installation for both your residential and commercial premises.
While the electricity bill will not disappear completely, the net metering policy will ensure that if you produce excess energy, it goes to the grid in exchange for credits which offset your bills. In case the credits are not enough to pay for your electricity consumption, you will pay reduced charges. For the unused credits, they will roll over for use in the following months.
The solar system will make yours a cost-effective and sustainable business translating into reduced utility bill. You will also receive a federal tax incentive which is equivalent to 30% the cost of your solar system. The installation gives your firm a competitive marketing edge by attracting new customers who are environmentally conscious.
Environmental Impact of My Solar System
Does your solar system impact the environment? Until recently, most people were accustomed to using conventional sources of energy. The trend is, however, changing with the world focusing on replacing the traditional sources with clean power for which solar energy is best suited. The higher demand for solar energy for both commercial and residential use has resulted in a significant rise in solar systems installation. The systems help in tapping, collection and storage of the direct solar energy in panels for later use.
In comparison to conventional sources of energy, solar energy has significant environmental benefits hence contributing to sustainable advancement in human activities. The solar systems are however not without fault. The faults are especially true with large scale installations which negatively impact your environment.
If not kept in check, the negative implications will deter the advancement of your systems. The most common potential environmental effects linked to your solar system can either be ecological impacts, impacts on water, impact on land use, and impact on both water and soil. Socioeconomic impacts are also a possibility.
The degree of environmental impact largely depends on the technology on which your solar system operates. The two primary categories are;
- Concentrating solar thermal plants (CPS)
- Photovoltaic (PV) Solar cell
The environmental impact of your solar system can either be positive or negative.
- Improved air quality
Unlike the conventional sources of energy whose source is burning of fossil fuels, your solar system depends on direct sunlight. The burning of fossil fuel for conventional power releases pollutants such as carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, greenhouse gases, and nitrogen oxides. Diseases such as asthma result from pollutant gases, while at the same time causing global warming.
On the other hand, conversion of sunlight to useable solar energy is almost non-toxic offsetting CO2 Emissions hence improved air quality.
- Ecological and Land Use Impacts
You need to use a large piece of land to generate utility-scale electricity from solar energy. Generation of that electricity, however, becomes a barrier to the existing land uses impacting management of areas set aside as wilderness or for recreational purposes. The land impact comes through energy footprints, extraction, Material exploration, manufacturing, and disposal. Even after use for solar energy generation, most of the land if any may take centuries to rehabilitate to its original purpose. Rehabilitation requires much time and tons of relentless efforts.
- Impact on Soil
Your solar system will have to be erected on land and not in a vacuum. If for example the system is meant for industrial use, vast tracts of land will initially get cleared and graded leading to interference of drainage systems, compacting the soil, and later erosion becomes a bigger issue.
- Impacts on Water
Consequently, to install an efficient system, the central tower system should be fitted with water for cooling. Water is; however, a rare resource in arid areas hence the increased water demand for use by the central tower strains the already available water supply. Your solar system is made up of chemicals. The chemicals may spill from your facility; hence contaminating not only the soil but also the groundwater through seepage and infiltration from the ground surface.
- Impact on Air
Whether your solar system is small-scale or large scale, its installation poses a threat to the air. Large-scale solar generating plants are more prevalent to these risks. Though solar systems hardly release emissions to the environment, manufacturing and transportation of solar cells release some emissions which impact the air quality negatively.
- Visual Burden
The visual burden is a product of poor or lack of proper planning of urban centers despite the growth of towns at an alarming rate. The poor planning is to blame for the random placement of your solar system as well as those in your neighborhood. The irregular placement results in a physically unattractive environment.
To deal with the visual burden of solar systems patched on buildings, hire the services of professionals to do the installation and upgrade for you.
A permanent solution, however, is integrating your solar system into your building at the construction stage. If you are fixing the solar system after construction and your roof won't support it, let your solar system technicians, aesthetically install the solar system. Do you reside in Sonoma, CA, or SF Bay Area? Call 707-658-2157 for aesthetic solar system installation.
- Impacts of Highly Toxic Materials
The manufacturing of PV cell relies on hazardous materials, especially when it comes to cleaning and purifying the surface of semiconductors. These highly toxic chemicals compare to those used in producing general semiconductors. Some of these materials are nitric acid, sulfuric acid, acetone, hydrochloric acid, hydrogen fluoride, and 1,1,1-trichloroethane.
Though laws are governing the manufacturing of these PV cells and their disposal thereof, the negative environmental impacts of their production are entirely inevitable. The rate of pollution is directly proportional to the type of cell, amount of chemical used and how much cleaning is required,
For a safer environment and healthy population, the manufacturers of the PV cells should practice proper disposal of the highly toxic materials.
- Release Life-Cycle Global Warming Emissions
Despite being the cleanest source of energy, your solar system also contributes to global warming but at a small percentage when compared to traditional sources. The global warming emissions happen in your system's life-cycle and not in the end product.
The stages responsible for the emission comprise of; manufacturing, transportation, fitting, dismantlement, maintenance and decommissioning, life cycle emissions of your solar system range between 0.07 to 0.18 pounds of CO2. The rate is lesser than that of natural gas.
Simply put, you can say that your solar system is highly effective in offsetting CO2 emissions.
- Impact on Natural Resources
Besides the ecological effects that come with chemicals used in the manufacturing of solar system components, additional challenges are emanating from the power used. The energy used in the production is generated using the conventional methods which pose significant threats by increasing the rates of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.
Some other by-products which make up the solar cell batteries are highly potent in polluting the environment since they have a short life span while at the same time containing heavy metals like cadmium which does not degrade efficiently hence depleting natural resources upon contact.
- Noise Intrusion
It’s highly unlikely that you will hear any noise after the installation of your solar unless of course it’s spoilt or has serious issues. However, like any other construction, during the fitting stage, you will experience some minor noise intrusions from your solar cells.
- Pollutants Discharge
What will happen if your solar system catches fire? Save for the fact that your system is efficient, safe and silent during its operation; the effects of a fire breakout will be deadly. In the situation that your system goes up in flames, the solar cell modules will leak toxic materials to the environment.
The released materials will not only make your environment inhabitable but also degrade the quality of your water and soil. It is therefore of essence that you erect an emergency system in both your commercial and residential houses to avert such events. Who can do that excellently if not Sun Solar Electric?
- Thermal Pollution
By design, a natural ecosystem should maintain an energy balance between the incoming and the outgoing heat. Highly developed urban centers and built settings share one thing in common which is called the heat island effect. The heat island effect is most prevalent in areas with numerous solar systems.
Your solar panel is black to absorb more light. The panels go to the extent of not only absorbing the heat but also heating up and warming the air and ground around them and your home. The system also retains heat in the panels’ shade at night. Otherwise, the retained heat would be radiations to the open sky.
The increase in environmental temperature beyond the average level endangers most species of living organisms in your home. Your large-scale solar system is also an enemy to the birds. Your panels reflect some microwave radiations to the air above it hence endangering the lives of the beautiful birds flying or even perching on your system.
Are the environmental impacts of my solar system preventable?
Save for the negative environmental impacts resulting from the solar systems; solar power still ranks as the safest, cleanest source of energy. However, you have to figure out how well to handle the effects. The impacts vary depending on the size of your solar system. The large-scale systems increase the visibility of the impact, while a small system records a less harmful effect.
Some options exist to help mitigate the adverse effects of your indispensable solar system. The solutions are however dependent on the architectural design of your buildings and how extensive is your solar project. These solutions include;
- Careful site selection before the installation of your system: The impacts of your solar system affect even the innocent birds. So, it will be fair that you consider fitting your system in a site that will have fewer effects especially on the living organisms and natural resources.
- Hiring a solar system specialist has also proven to be a reliable solution especially for visual burdens. You are therefore advised to work with a couple of professionals such as structural engineers and electricians early on in the construction of your building.
For a small solar system, the solar system profession will fit it on your roof. Nevertheless, if yours is a large building, the engineers will integrate the system into your structure at the construction phase. For efficiency sake, solar cell modules will come in handy when added to the side of your skyscraper. You do not have contacts for a trusted, reputable, professional solar company?
Find an Environmentally Friendly Solar System Company Near me
Have you joined or are you yet to join the clean energy bandwagon? It is essential you understand the environmental impact of your solar system. The understanding will increase your environmental consciousness while maximizing socioeconomic benefits for both your home and business. Choose professionals to handle all your solar problems as they understand the process better. Also, they know how to handle any arising issues during the whole process.
Are you a resident of Sonoma, CA? Make Sun Solar Electric your one stop shop for all your commercial and residential solar and electricity needs. Call our solar company at 707-658-2157 today and book a free consultation.