Why Is Solar Energy Considered An Environment?

Solar energy refers to technologies that convert sunlight into electricity. It is considered a clean, renewable source of power that does not generate any air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, or radioactive waste. Interest and adoption of solar power has grown dramatically in recent years due to falling costs and increased awareness of climate change and the need to transition away from fossil fuels. Nations around the world are investing heavily in solar energy as part of their strategy to reduce carbon emissions and meet sustainability goals.

Reduces Reliance on Fossil Fuels

For generations, the power to light our homes and businesses has come from burning fossil fuels, like coal and natural gas. Fossil fuels, which are used to create electricity, create greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. In contrast, solar panels produce clean energy from the sun. Solar power provides 10% of the US’s electricity. Research shows that if solar generated just 20% of the nation’s electricity, it would take electricity from coal down by 25%.

Solar energy also helps reduce our dependence on oil. Because solar panels produce electricity right where it is used, such as on a home rooftop, solar can help offset electricity generation from natural gas. And with the transition to electric vehicles powered by renewable energy like solar, we have an opportunity to eliminate most of our reliance on oil for transportation.

Overall, by tapping into the free and abundant power of the sun, solar energy is allowing us to move away from dirty coal and oil and toward a clean energy future.

Lowers Carbon Emissions

One of the main environmental benefits of solar energy is its ability to greatly reduce carbon emissions compared to fossil fuel-based energy sources like coal and natural gas. When fossil fuels are burned to generate electricity, they emit high levels of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere. These greenhouse gas emissions are the leading cause of climate change worldwide.

Solar panels, on the other hand, produce electricity without any carbon emissions. The process of converting sunlight into usable electricity does not release any greenhouse gases. Even factoring in emissions from solar panel manufacturing and installation, the overall lifecycle emissions of solar energy are drastically lower than conventional energy sources. The Department of Energy estimated that solar energy emits 97-98% less carbon dioxide per unit of electricity than coal power plants. As solar power displaces fossil fuel-generated electricity on the grid, it can significantly reduce a region’s carbon footprint and help combat climate change.

Experts point to the development of solar energy generation as one of the key strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and meeting global climate goals. Widespread adoption of solar can help wean the world off carbon-intensive power generation and prevent billions of tons of emissions over the coming decades. With solar panels able to harness a free, abundant resource like sunlight, the technology offers an immense opportunity to lower emissions and promote sustainability compared to legacy energy systems.

Improves Public Health

Solar power helps reduce air pollution and related health problems by displacing fossil fuel electricity generation. Burning of coal, natural gas, and oil at conventional power plants releases pollutants like particulate matter, nitrogen oxides, and sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere. These pollutants can cause respiratory diseases, heart disease, neurological damage, and other serious health issues, especially for children and the elderly.

solar energy improves public health by reducing harmful air pollution from fossil fuel power plants.

Areas downwind of fossil fuel power plants often bear a disproportionate burden of this air pollution and negative health impacts. Studies have quantified the public health benefits of every megawatt-hour of renewable electricity added to the grid. Solar energy, as a clean source of power with zero direct emissions, can help alleviate these public health issues.

Increasing solar power improves air quality and reduces illness and death from air pollution. This provides large but often overlooked public health value by lowering health care costs and increasing quality of life. The health benefits of solar energy, while difficult to quantify precisely, should be considered alongside the more obvious environmental benefits.

More Energy Independence

Solar energy allows countries and communities to produce electricity locally rather than importing fossil fuels from other regions. This provides more energy independence and security. Many areas have abundant solar resources that can be harnessed to generate electricity without relying on fuel imports. Solar also diversifies the energy mix so that countries are not solely dependent on one type of fuel or electricity source. By tapping into the sun’s energy directly, solar photovoltaic systems and concentrated solar plants can help provide a sustainable supply of energy from an inexhaustible source. The ability to generate electricity locally from the sun reduces susceptibility to fuel supply disruptions or price hikes. In an increasingly interconnected world, energy independence is key for economic and national security.

Uses Available Space

One of the biggest advantages of solar energy is that it can utilize space that is already being used for other purposes. Rooftop solar panels allow homeowners and businesses to generate electricity on the roofs of their buildings without taking up any additional land. Parking lot solar canopies provide shade for cars while producing clean power at the same time. Even agricultural solar integrates solar panels into working farms so the land can produce both food and electricity simultaneously.

Solar panels can also utilize land that is not suitable for other productive uses, like brownfields that were former industrial sites. Marginal lands that are not prime for farming or development are excellent candidates for utility-scale solar farms. Solar energy enables us to get more out of the available space around us, generating emissions-free electricity on spaces that would otherwise go unused.

Saves Water

Solar PV systems can help conserve significant amounts of water, especially in areas where water resources are scarce. This is because solar PV replaces electricity from conventional sources like coal, natural gas, and nuclear power – all of which consume large amounts of water for fuel extraction, cooling, and power plant operations.

For example, concentrating solar power plants with thermal storage use around 75% less water per unit of electricity than coal plants. Solar PV panels themselves require little to no water to generate electricity. By displacing water-intensive electricity generation, solar PV could save up to 4 trillion gallons of water per year if adopted at large scale.

In addition to electricity generation, solar PV can also be used for other water-saving applications like purifying or desalinating water. Solar-powered reverse osmosis systems are extremely useful for providing clean drinking water in remote or drought-stricken regions. Overall, transitioning to solar PV could greatly reduce pressure on limited freshwater supplies while meeting the world’s growing energy demand in a sustainable manner.

Creates Jobs

The solar energy industry has been creating jobs at a rapid pace over the past decade. According to the Solar Foundation’s National Solar Jobs Census, the solar workforce has grown 167% since 2010. In 2021, the industry employed 231,474 workers, representing a slight increase over 2020 despite the pandemic. The solar industry was one of the few that continued adding jobs during 2020.

The residential and commercial solar installation sector accounts for the largest share of solar jobs. In 2021, installers made up about 44% of the solar workforce. Solar manufacturing accounted for 15% of jobs, while project development comprised 13%. Sales and distribution jobs represented 11% of solar workers.

California leads all states with 75,712 solar jobs in 2021, followed by Florida, Texas, New York, and Massachusetts. Solar jobs are found in every U.S. state, and are increasing in traditionally fossil fuel-producing states as well. The solar industry promises continued job growth as more homes and businesses adopt solar energy.

Cost Competitive

Solar energy has become much more cost competitive with traditional fossil fuels like coal and natural gas in recent years. The average cost of solar panels has dropped dramatically since 2010, declining by over 70% according to industry reports. This steep drop has been driven by economies of scale as more solar has been deployed globally and technological innovations that have boosted efficiency.

In many regions across the U.S., solar is now the cheapest form of new electricity generation when compared to building a new coal or gas plant. A 2021 report by the International Renewable Energy Agency found that over 60% of all renewable power generation added in 2020 was cheaper than the lowest cost fossil fuel alternative. As prices continue to fall, solar is expected to increasingly displace fossil fuel plants.


In summary, solar energy provides considerable environmental benefits compared to fossil fuel-based energy sources. By utilizing the free and abundant power of the sun, solar energy reduces reliance on coal, oil, and natural gas. This lowers emissions of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide that contribute to climate change. Solar energy also reduces air pollutants that impact public health. Additionally, generating electricity locally from solar panels provides more energy independence and security. Solar power makes efficient use of vacant rooftops, parking lots, and land. And it utilizes no water for steam or cooling compared to thermal power plants. The solar power industry also creates good-paying jobs that cannot be outsourced. With costs continuing to fall, solar energy is increasingly cost competitive with conventional energy. Looking ahead, solar power will play a major role in building a clean energy future and mitigating environmental damage from fossil fuel use.

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