Action 298: Investigate installing solar panels

solar panelsDate: 25 October
Action: 298
Cost of taking action: £/$/€ VARIES

 

From our guest writer Lakshika in the USA

Investigating installing solar panels on your rooftop

Today’s topic is an action on how we can reduce our carbon footprint and save money in long term by investing in installing a solar panel to generate electricity.

Why renewable energy?

The largest source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in today’s world from human activity is the burning of fossil fuels – coal, oil and natural gas – to produce electricity. Did you know that our homes contribute direct emissions of GHGs when using electricity for light, heating, appliances and cooking?

Increasing the levels of GHGs in the atmosphere traps heat and causes global warming.

During the past few years, as an alternative, the world has been moving more towards renewable and natural sources to generate cleaner energy which cause no emissions of GHGs and other pollutants into the atmosphere in the process. There are several renewable energy sources in increasing use:

  • Wind power
  • Solar power
  • Geothermal energy
  • Biomass power
  • Hydropower from flowing water

(Here’s an interesting question … where does nuclear fit in here? … after all it doesn’t create GHGs? … Ed)

Why solar panels?

Solar power is the most abundant energy source on earth.

It is a clean and renewable energy source, which means it comes from a natural resource, the sun, causes zero emissions and does not pollute the atmosphere in the process.

The technology behind solar panels is around creating electricity when they are hit by sunlight. One form of energy is being converted into another.

World leading companies like Apple, Amazon, and Nike have invested in renewable energy sources like solar panels on their premises in attempts to achieve their sustainability goals for zero carbon emissions. More broadly, solar farms (also known as solar parks or solar power stations) are being built around the world, contributing a large energy supply to national grids.

Beyond these huge investments and projects in solar, solar panels are also considered probably the most common, feasible and affordable method to generate electricity at residential level.

This is where you come in!

Think about the possibility of incorporating panels into your own plans. Don’t dismiss it as too expensive without some research, because prices are falling and the saving on electricity bills can be very large.

Things to consider

  • If you live somewhere with adequate sunlight, think about installing solar panels on your rooftop
  • A well-built good quality solar panel can last 25-30 years
  • It’s long-term investment – reduced electricity bills will pay for installation
  • Weigh these up carefully before deciding
  • Think about roof space, the condition of the roof and its direction of slope
  • These will impact on the installation and efficiency of your system
  • It always doesn’t have to be sunny
  • Though solar panels do produce more energy on clear, sunny days of course!
  • Solar panels are more efficient in cold temperature, so a sunny day in winter is a good day too!
  • If you do not own your home, like me, have a discussion with the landlord about the potentials of installing solar panels
  • Solar panels include heavy metals such as silver, copper, lead, arsenic, cadmium, and selenium which may be hazardous, so they need to be treated with care and installed (and ultimately disposed of) properly, by experts
  • Safety first: wiring a solar panel array into your home electricity system is a job for an expert!
pollution

Click for larger image

Why is this important?

Burning fossil fuels for electricity generation is one of the major human activities which releases higher GHG emissions into the atmosphere and directly impacts global warming.

We are all are equally responsible for reducing our carbon footprint and being a part of a global move to more sustainable practices. The installation of a solar panel or panels to your rooftop is a renewable and natural form of electricity generation with no GHGs or other harmful pollutants released to the environment.

Take action

Please, do some research and give some serious thought to this great investment!

Some links to start include these:

Energy Saving Trust: https://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/advice/solar-panels/

Eon energy: https://www.eonenergy.com/solar-panels/installation.html

Which?: https://www.which.co.uk/reviews/solar-panels/article/solar-panels/solar-panel-installation-aiRvu3N6OyEN

Money Saving Expert: https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/utilities/free-solar-panels/

Remember, we must all just do the best we can … and a small change made by lots of people can make a big difference!!!

This article has been contributed by
Lakshika Nishadhi

Thank you Lakshika

Insta: @waste.reduction
Twitter: @lakshikansh