Here’s a popular complaint we hear from perspective customers – “solar panels pollute.”
It’s a common San Diego solar power myth, and we’re here to clear up any misconceptions (if you’d like to read more “debunked” solar myths, click here).
But before we dive in, we need to make a couple of confessions.
1. The Solar Panel Manufacturing Process Creates Waste
It’s true. In order to manufacture a solar panel, you need to extract, mine, and process the raw materials. And each of these steps creates physical waste.
This much is true of all consumer products (electronics, cars, clothes, etc.).
2. To Create Solar Panels, You Need Fossil Fuel
This is also true. To create solar panels, you need a lot of energy. And that energy usually comes from fossil fuel sources like oil, gas, and coal. Again, the same is true with all consumer products.
So if solar panels DO create waste and pollution, is this really a myth?
Debunking This Common San Diego Solar Power Myth
Solar panels do actually pollute. But as you’ll soon see, the environment still wins in the long run.
Let’s explore the material waste and CO2 that solar panels create.
How Solar Tackles Material Waste
Today’s solar panels are mostly made from glass, aluminum, and semiconductor materials – pretty much all of which can be recycled. So yes, there is some waste involved. But you can use that waste again and again.
And you won’t really have to think about that for a long time.
High quality solar components come with 25-year warranties. And many systems last 40 years or longer. Just think about how many iPhones, televisions, and computers you’ll throw away over the next 4 decades.
When it comes to material waste, solar is a very clean technology. The parts last for years, and when they stop working, you can recycle them.
How Solar Tackles Fossil Fuel & CO2
It takes a lot of fossil fuel energy to manufacture today’s high quality solar components. And so there’s definitely CO2 involved.
But ecologically speaking, solar pays for itself very quickly. The green energy payback of a standard multi-crystalline silicon PV module is about 4 years. Thereafter, your panels create nothing but clean, free electricity for decades.
In other words, there’s a little pollution in the very beginning. And within 4 years, your panels become 100% carbon neutral.
Contrast this with grid electricity, which has no energy payback period. It’s just an endless cycle of extraction, mining, burning, and pollution. And every now and then, you might have a major oil spill or two.
Environmentally Speaking, Solar Is a Win, Win, Win
In any competition that pits solar energy against grid electricity, solar comes out a very clear winner:
- The sun is clean – fossil fuel is dirty
- The sun is free – fossil fuel is expensive
- The sun is infinite – fossil fuel is limited
That you also enjoy lower monthly electricity bills is simply icing on the cake.
If you’re ready to embrace a cleaner and more affordable lifestyle, contact us today for your free solar consultation. You pay absolutely nothing to begin exploring your options.
And this concludes our 10-part series on popular solar myths. At least for now.
If you come across other common misconceptions, lies, or misinformation regarding solar technology, definitely let us know. We’d love to expand this list and educate as many people as possible about the unbelievable benefits of going solar.