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Solar Panels and the Environment

The sun is a tremendous resource for generating clean, sustainable energy. With solar power, people can get electricity without pollution or the emissions causing global warming. Solar power has a positive impact on the environment and doesn’t have the adverse effects of other energy sources.

Unlike other resources of energy, solar power does not emit dangerous global warming emissions or pollution. With its zero-emissions, solar power serves as a critical factor in eliminating CO2 from the atmosphere. Using solar power offers an indirect, positive effect on the environment when it replaces or reduces the use of other energy sources that have enormous, negative consequences.

There are Positive Effects, But Solar Power Also Have Negative Impact

NJ solar panels offer indirect but valuable positive effects on the environment. However, it doesn’t mean that the use of solar panels does not have its fair share of adverse impact. For instance, there is the fact that solar panels are created in a factory and harvests raw materials. Building the panels involve construction and transformation, all of which can contribute to pollution.

The impact of solar power use varies significantly based on the kind of technology used to utilize energy. The type of technology can be broadly categorized into two – concentrating solar thermal plants or CSP or photovoltaic (PV) solar cells. The scale of the solar panel system, whether its small rooftop PV arrays or large, utility-scale CSP or PV projects, significantly influence the impact level of solar power.

Energy Payback Time (EPBT) of Solar Panel Systems

The energy or environmental payback time of a solar panel system is called EPBT. It refers to the time needed to generate as much of the energy as consumed during the system’s production as well as lifetime operation. As for solar PV systems, the EPBT for the past decade has drastically reduced. It’s all thanks to the improved production technologies used in creating solar panels.

When defining the solar panel’s payback, there are several factors to consider. The factors include the panel’s productivity (in some parts of the world, a solar panel may produce more than what others can). Other factors to define the EPBT of the solar panel include how the panels were produced and where they were produced. In some countries, a solar panel may be constructed out of the country.

Over the last years, the EPBT of solar panels is steadily going down. Back in 1970, the system’s payback was 40 years, and then by 2010, the payback’s timeframe was significantly reduced to 6 months. The payback continues to go down even to this day thanks to technological efficiencies going up.

Factors Influencing Decreased EPBT

Today’s solar panels are much more efficient, and that’s a huge factor that contributes to the decreased timeframe of EPBT. Another factor affecting the decrease of payback is a better-designed system. Less silicon is used in modern solar panels used during the manufacturing process, which helps to reduce the costs of the solar panels significantly.

Overall, the environmental impact of solar panels is notably low. Its use has been responsible for eliminating over 70 million metric tons of CO2 yearly. That amount of reduced carbon dioxide is equal to 1.8 million trees. Compared to other energy resources, solar power is the best choice for the environment.

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