The environmental problem
The impact of energy usage is a constantly growing environmental problem. Most responsible scientist are now clear that the high levels of CO2 released produces global warming. In turn, global warming is changing the boundaries of deserts, melting polar ice and raising sea levels. Scientists believe that we may be approaching a point of no return; irreversible damage.
Here is some data for the technically minded. Burning oil and other fuels pollutes the air, releasing an estimated 29,200 million metric tons of CO2 in 2006; yes, 29,200,000,000 tons. This equates to 4.5 metric tons per person on average globally. However, the average figure for the UK is 9.7, double the world average. For the USA, a profligate energy consumer, the per capita figure is an alarming 19.8 (all data is 2006). To put that figure into perspective; 19.8 metric tons per person is equivalent to roughly 247 times each person’s weight released, as a gas. Think about it! This is not sustainable.
Alternative energy sources
Many alternative energy sources create hazardous waste materials or damage the surrounding ecosystem.
Dams may appear to be a more environmentally friendly power source, but in reality local systems often face considerable difficulty. Not only humans, but fish and other wildlife can be severely impacted by the sudden change in the topography.
Even wind power has negative impacts on local wildlife, in addition to the visual impact and the significant areas of land required to produce a worthwhile electricity output.
The only truly "green" option is Photovoltaic (PV). Instead of “burning, drowning or poisoning” our planet, clean power from the sun can in principle be used to power nearly everything other than planes. Enough energy falls on the earth from the sun to meet more than 2,000 times our current power needs. Much research and development needs to be done to even approach this desirable scenario.
However, efficient solar photovoltaic technology is available now and has sound economics in addition to the environmental attractions.
Is Solar Power Really Green?
For many "green" alternatives, there is an argument to be made as to the net environmental impact. With solar power, there is no argument.
It is unarguably the best possible method for powering our planet. Proper disposal and recycling of the chemicals used in production keeps the environmental impact negligible.
A recent Canadian study showed that:
“100% of solar electricity is produced emissions free. Factoring in the emissions due to production of the solar panels, 87 - 97% of the
energy produced by PV systems will be free of pollution and greenhouse gas emissions”.
Another recent study shows that switching one overseas national grid to predominantly solar energy will reduce green house gases by up to 89 percent. Even in the UK, far from tropical sunlight, the annual estimated electricity production of a typical domestic 16 panel array is 3,754 kWh. In addition, CO2 savings are estimated at 2.5 tons. This is equivalent to driving a typical family car for over 4,000 miles.
Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
Reducing CO2 emissions to the atmosphere is a major attraction to environmentally responsible consumers. When you choose solar power you are also making a fiscally responsible choice for renewable energy. Solar systems are an expanding portion of the energy market. Systems become more efficient each year, making them both cheaper and cleaner to run.
In a utopian situation where every building is run predominantly on PV power, urban smog would be a thing of the past. Even the densest populations would enjoy clean air and a plentiful power supply.
Each one of us can make a significant contribution to our global problem! Why not start now with solar PV and also make a sound financial investment? In these tough ecomomic times where elso can you get a 8-10% return on your investments and savings?
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