Impacts of Solar energy on the environment
The sun gives a colossal asset to producing perfect sustainable and maintainable power without harmful contamination or an Earth-wide temperature boost outflow or emission. In comparison with conventional energy sources, solar energy systems provide environmental advantages, contributing to the long-term development of human pursuits
However, their wide-scale implementation can sometimes have significant environmental consequences. These possible issues appear to be a significant hurdle to the future adoption of these systems in the coming ages.
Yes, the comparative benefits are tentatively always going to be higher than the conventional energy production activities. Such as, solar panels do not depend on water to operate. Whereas, standard electricity generation consumes a large number of gallons each year, which means more solar energy production leads to reduced water requirements. With that, Fossil fuels in conventional energy production release toxic gases such as methane and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, lowering air quality. Anxiety, headaches, pneumonia, heart attacks, asthma, bronchitis, and allergies are all symptoms of air pollution, which can wreak havoc on our health and well-being. Also, the emission of fossil fuels also lead to increased greenhouse gases into the air which has resulted in the melting of glaciers, rising sea levels and these further leads to calamities like drought and extreme floods. Whereas, solar energy reduces carbon emissions in the air.
The availability of fossil fuels is finite. Its dependency has to shift to more renewable energy sources as early as possible. The benefits are worth switching to solar energy production. But, the adverse impacts cannot be completely avoided.
Usage of solar energy is going to impact the environment negatively as well but solar power’s potential environmental impacts—land use and habitat loss, water use, and the use of hazardous compounds in manufacturing, may vary widely depending on the technology, which can be divided into two categories: photovoltaic (PV) solar cells and concentrating solar thermal plants (CSP).
Larger utility-scale solar installations, depending on their location, may cause land degradation and habitat loss. The total land area required varies based on the technology, the site’s geography, and the solar resource’s intensity. Solar projects, unlike wind farms, have fewer opportunities to share the land with agricultural activities. Land impacts from utility-scale solar systems, on the other hand, can be reduced by placing them in low-quality areas like brownfields, abandoned mining, or non-fertile lands.
Another point to be considered is that Solar PV cells generate power without the usage of water. Water is used in the fabrication of solar PV components, as it is in all industrial processes. With that, the other major concern is that several hazardous compounds are employed in the PV cell production process, the majority of which are used to clean and purify the semiconductor surface. Hydrochloric acid, sulfuric acid, nitric acid, hydrogen fluoride, 1,1,1-trichloroethane, and acetone are among the chemicals utilized in the semiconductor business.
These impacts are not of utmost concern in the short term as compared to conventional energy. The environmental advantages of solar energy will always outweigh its negative impacts.
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