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How 'green' is the life cycle of a solar panel end-to-end compared to traditional energy sources?

Sophia Williams Sophia Williams Jul 17, 2020 · 2 mins read
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In an era where climate change is a pressing issue, there has been a significant shift toward renewable energy sources like solar energy. Solar panels harness energy from the sun and convert it into electricity, making it an eco-friendly and cost-effective source of power. However, when it comes to determining the environmental impact of solar panels, it’s essential to analyze the entire life cycle of the panels - from the manufacturing process to disposal.

Solar panels are made up of various components, such as the photovoltaic cells, glass, aluminum frames, and plastic components. Manufacturers use energy-intensive procedures to extract and refine the raw materials used in creating these components. However, studies have shown that the energy used during manufacturing is offset by the clean energy produced by solar panels during its operational lifespan.

Moreover, unlike traditional energy sources such as coal or oil, solar panels don’t produce greenhouse gases or air pollutants like sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide during operation. Solar energy is a clean and renewable energy resource that not only reduces carbon emissions but also helps improve air quality.

Another advantage of solar energy is its ability to generate electricity in remote locations, which eliminates the need for transporting energy over long distances. This reduces the potential for oil spills during transportation and lessens the environmental impact caused by transportation emissions.

When it comes to disposal, solar panels are largely recyclable, and recycling them also saves energy and resources that would have been used to manufacture new ones. However, at the end of their operational lifespan, solar panels do need to be disposed of, and this presents a challenge. Solar panels contain small amounts of hazardous materials like lead and cadmium, so it’s crucial to dispose of them appropriately. It’s worth noting that solar panels have a lifespan of 25-30 years, so we have time to develop sustainable ways of safely disposing of them.

In conclusion, solar panels have proven to be a cleaner and more sustainable source of energy compared to traditional energy sources. While there are still some environmental concerns involved in the manufacturing and disposal of solar panels, their benefits far outweigh their drawbacks. The switch to solar energy is crucial in combating climate change and preserving our planet’s natural resources. By choosing to invest in solar energy, we can all play a part in creating a cleaner and healthier planet for future generations.

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Sophia Williams
Written by Sophia Williams
Always exploring new horizons and pushing the boundaries.