How Going Solar Helps Save the Planet

Published On: December 4, 20180 Comments on How Going Solar Helps Save the PlanetTags: , Last Updated: February 13, 20242.8 min read

When thinking about switching to solar or some other renewable source of energy, people often focus on how much money they can save. But there are so many other things you can save as well. Not only does the investment of going solar help you reduce your electricity bill, but it also helps you reduce the carbon footprint. Believe it or not, having a 5-kW solar power system helps to eliminate as much CO2 as a 5.6-acre forest.

installing solar panels

So maybe you can’t do much to save the rainforests, but you sure can contribute to what they are doing for the planet, that is eliminating the harmful carbon pollution.

How Does It Work?

Instead of using electricity from a power plant (whose source is a mix of fossil fuels, nuclear power, and some renewable sources) which is the major cause of greenhouse gas pollution, using the solar energy which does not produce nearly as much carbon pollution can actually contribute to preventing the climate change.

As we all know how carbon production actually influences and enhances the change, there is always some hope for the carbon pollution reduction, and it lies in the trees which are the major factor in preventing all that CO2 from getting to the atmosphere. Their efficiency in doing this is not so difficult to calculate, and neither is the “work scope” i.e. greenhouse gases emission from various industrial processes, traffic, and transportation, mining, etc. So when you apply those numbers to the solar power system, you can actually see how much solar energy can help in reducing the carbon footprint.

What Are The Results?

As already mentioned, trees, more specifically, fully grown, mature trees, help to reduce the CO2 emission in the atmosphere. According to the numbers provided by NREL (National Renewable Energy Laboratories) in California, the average amount of energy per kilowatt generated by solar panels per year is around 1,360 kilowatt-hours. If we take a 5kW system as an average, it would produce 6800 kWh in total.

roof with solar panels

Calculations say that the saving from not using every kW of the grid is 740g of CO2. Of course, solar power is system is not faultless after all, so if we take into consideration its production, transportation, and decommissioning, the total damage this energy source does to the planet is 40g of CO2 per kW. So that gives us 700g of CO2 net savings per kW of solar electric power. To get the annual savings, we need to multiply that 700g per kW with 6800 kWh of annual production, and we get 4,760,000 grams a year, which is as much as it sounds, it is certainly not to be disregarded.

Okay, But How Is It Related To Trees?

According to the previously mentioned calculations, the sequestration, i.e. preventing the CO2 from getting to the atmosphere, done by the trees per acre of mature forest is 850,000 grams per year. If we take the previous number of 4,760,000 grams of CO2 “sequestered” by the solar power system, we’ll see it equals the good work done by a 5.6-acre mature forest. So if you can’t plant and grow trees, there is still a way to do something equally good for the planet – install a solar power system in your home!

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