How Solar Panels Save US Citizens’ Lives

Monday, August 21, 2017

How Solar Panels Save US Citizens’ Lives

Solar panels quickly became a popular way to ‘go green’ — homeowners can install the panels on their homes to reduce their reliance on local power grids and also reduce their carbon footprint.

The other impacts that solar power has often get overlooked. In some locations in the United States, solar power actually saves lives. How can solar panels save lives?

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Fossil Fuels Kill People

It’s no secret that burning fossil fuels in power plants creates pollutants. It’s been repeatedly shown to dump millions of metric tons of carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and particulate matter into the air every year. These pollutants contribute to more frequent cases of asthma and respiratory disease — it can even cause lung scarring and lifelong damage for people who inhale this waste every single day. Children face the most risk for these respiratory side effects.

Even if not directly affected by the waste created by fossil fuel burning power plants, you may have already noticed plenty of far-reaching side effect. Climate change has started to cause dangerous heat waves that can, in some cases, prove deadly. 

This temperature increase has also begun changing weather patterns and encouraging disease growth. In at least once case, melting permafrost has exposed a 75-year-old strain of anthrax in Siberian deer. Researchers predict this won’t remain an isolated case — instead, long dormant strains of bacteria and viruses we haven’t seen in decades or centuries will start to make a comeback.

All this, just from a few decades of burning fossil fuels as a power source. This is a small sample of the ways fossil fuels kill people and solar saves lives.

Benefits of Solar Power

Other than reducing our dependence on finite fossil fuel resources, what other benefits do solar panels provide?

  • Reduced power industry emissions — the Department of Energy predicts solar could reduce the waste produced by the power industry by 10 percent or more between 2015 and 2050. That number could also potentially climb if solar becomes more affordable and mainstream.
  • Reduced water use — Power companies use billions of gallons of water every year. Solar power could reduce those usage numbers by more than 290 billion gallons, which is a boon for dry or drought stricken states. 
  • Competition — Project Sunshot, a solar power initiative started in 2011, was designed to make solar power competitively priced. Recently, they’ve managed to reduce the cost of solar power to $0.06/kWh.
  • Longevity — Solar panels are designed as an investment, and typically created with that in mind, crafted to last 20-25 years or more. A well-installed set of solar panels can last a lifetime, though it is important to make sure the solar panels are weather-proofed and that the weatherproofing isn’t damaged by environmental factors. 

If interested in finding out whether your home would be a good option for solar panels, Google has thoughtfully provided a mapping tool — simply find your home and Project Sunroof will do the rest, including breaking down your potential savings and whether it’s a better idea to lease or purchase your solar panels. It is important to note that in some states — Florida included — it is against the law to lease solar panels so that might limit your options.

Solar Jobs On The Rise

It isn’t just the environment the solar industry is benefiting — it’s been good for the economy as well. Solar related jobs are growing faster than any other field — in some cases up to 12 times as fast as the rest of the country. The solar industry boasted around 3.4 million jobs in 2011. That number has climbed to over 4 million as of the beginning of 2017 and is projected to continue to grow in the future.

The current administration may focus on oil and coal jobs, but the future is quite obviously in solar and wind power.

Don’t let the high initial investment of solar panels scare you away. These panels become more and more affordable as the years go by — Tesla is even offering solar shingles to re-roof your entire home with power generating technology. The initial cost is daunting, but when you consider the dramatic impact of solar on the environment and on the life of the individual, the investment seems worth it.

By  Kayla MatthewsEmbed

Kayla Matthews writes about marketing innovation and business solutions for, Convince & Convert and WeWork. You can read more posts by Kayla on her blog, Productivity Theory.


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