Aveneu Park, Starling, Australia

A is equivalent to planting about 25,000 trees

A major leading issue in the world today is global warming caused by greenhouse gases. Carbon dioxide is a crucial factor of greenhouse gases contributing to 76% of total greenhouse gases (Fischedick 2014), which is emitted from the burning of fossil fuels, such as coal, oil, and gases to generate energy. As the world realizes this critical growing issue, finding alternatives to supply energy has become pivotal. Unfortunately, creating technologies to reduce this problem will require the use of carbon-based energy. However, as the world’s need for energy grows, the production of low-carbon technologies using carbon-based products will ultimately be justified and minimal. Solar panels that utilize solar energy is a highly beneficial alternative being that the overall usage of solar panels contributes to greenhouse gases 96-98% less than coal (Powers 2013). Although solar panels are an efficient alternative source for supplying energy and does not directly release carbon dioxide, the production of the panels does generate a fair amount of carbon dioxide and waste. Majority of current photovoltaic cells are also silicon-based that demands a lot of energy to produce, most likely from coal. The manufacturing of the panels contain chemicals such as silver and tellurium, sodium hydroxide, hydrofluoric acid, as well as water and electrical processes. Due to a lack of locations that recycle solar panels, the solar panels are not recycled properly and becomes harmful waste (Nunez 2014). However, according to The U.S. Department of Energy, it would take only 3.5 years for a solar panel to make up for its production of emissions from manufacturing; therefore, considering it lasts for an approximate of 20-30 years, it would spend more time being a positive contribution rather than a negative one (Ceacatura 2016). Additional, as technology progresses, new developments to improve solar panels will decrease that statistic as well. Even now, a single average home alone that uses a solar panel to provide electricity is equivalent to planting about 25,000 trees (Solar Power 2018).Solar energy is renewable as daylight is abundant, unlike the burning of fossil fuels. Homes and business in many countries have installed rooftop solar panels as a way to supply energy for the buildings. In Australia “already 1 million households have solar panels and the government plans to support installation for another million” (Stokes 2013). This is proven to be a greatly efficient way of supplying energy as solar panels can provide an entire house the necessary electricity needed using 80% fewer emissions than fossil fuels (Arif 2013). The average household in the United States with a solar panel would save an estimate of 7257.4779 kilograms of carbon dioxide per year. Installation of solar panels is a relatively clever investment because there are many positive factors that come with it including: increase in jobs, reasonable pricing, saves a substantial amount of money later on (approximately $20,000-$60,000 in utility cost alone) (Ceacatura 2016), and an average efficiency of 25-30+ years (Markham 2015). As a result of the surging popular new source of energy continues to be incorporated into homes throughout, the price will also continue to drop becoming even more affordable and the distribution of solar panels will increase.Even though the sun is able to endlessly supply energy, there are a few countries which do not have as much sunlight as the rest of the world. Northern countries such as Sweden, Finland, and Iceland having an average of 5.4 hours of sunlight in the beginning of winter in 2014 (Lewis 2015); which does not provide enough solar energy for the panels to charge efficiently. In these countries, solar panels would most likely be used more of a temporary alternative source of energy in assisting with reducing daily carbon-based energy sources, because it can still be used since the low temperatures would allow for the electricity to flow better (Glenn 2014). There are also different solar panels for dark and cloudy weather that would be a different option to utilize when needed, although the panel would be more expensive (Rose 2017). Snow could also at times obstruct the way the sun rays hit the surface of the panel and as a result, reduces its efficiency; however technology to install a miniature robot of some sort that would be attached to the panel to wipe off any debris of the surface (Glenn 2014). Development of recent technologies that allows solar panels to work in all climates is currently being improved. For example, different type of batteries is being created and improved on such as hydrogen batteries and salt batteries. The batteries can allow a home that owns a solar panel to store energy when there is sunlight, that later on the home can use when the sun does not shine (Glenn 2014).Overall, there are many benefits to investing in solar panels that currently require the use of carbon-based technology. As technology advances, that issue will most likely than not decrease, and solar panels have proven to compensate for the damage of the production by the emission-free energy it supplies. By simply investing in a solar panel, the world collectively could make a huge impact on sustaining the earth for generations to come.


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