How Green Are Those Solar Panels, Really?

By: Miles Hingston


The consumption and production of energy and its environmental effects are two subjects that collide every time the world tries to put them together. One of the many reasons is that it is nearly impossible to produce, consume or transport energy without significantly affecting the environment.

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The most related problems caused due to energy consumption and production are air pollution, climate change, thermal pollution, solid waste disposal, and water pollution.

On a positive note, renewable energies such as solar are considered a better alternative compared to burning fossil fuels and causing major urban air pollution. Burning fossil fuels for energy, heat and transportation is one of the main causes of the emission of greenhouse gases. 

While industries increase their efforts towards drawing a line in the environmental problems directly related to energy consumption, there are still questions that need answers. For those who are keenly interested in investing in a green lifestyle, the main concern is are solar panels really green?

Read more : Solar Panel Installation in the best way – Direction, Angle and the Location

Is solar power really environmentally friendly?

The growth of industries around the world raises concerns for cleaner, safer energy and solar panels are increasingly becoming a safer option.

About 10% of the world uses solar energy to generate electricity and heat.

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA) report summary of 2021, the renewable power capacity driven by solar PV is set to create a record as of 2021. 290 GW of new renewable power is commissioned in 2021 which is 3% higher than the 2020s growth. 

Solar PV is estimated to accelerate in the next 5 years, increasing 95% of the global power capacity.

It is forecasted that over 60% of global renewable electricity capacity will increase between 2020-2026.

The IEA summary report also summarizes that China remains the leader in the solar industry with 43% of global renewable capacity. 

China is followed by Europe, the USA and India, these are 4 main markets producing 80% of solar PV and are responsible for renewable capacity expansion worldwide. 

Even though the increase in solar panels is slowly visible worldwide, the concerns of producing the solar panels remain, as it can have a negative environmental impact.

In comparison to burning fossil fuels to generate electricity, Solar Photovoltaics are better for the environment.

Why is solar energy not sustainable?

However, fabricating solar panels requires chemicals such as sodium hydroxide and hydroxide acid which are combined with water resulting in emission of greenhouse gases. 

 The production process causes waste undercutting solar energies capacity to reduce climate change and environmental problems such as reducing toxins. By understanding the production process, it is clear that solar panels are not 100% green, clean and zero-emission. 

With technology and geographical advantages, steps are taken to dispose of, recycle and reuse materials used in the production process. The solar industry is trying to eliminate as much of the damaging effects by moving productions of photovoltaics from certain countries. 

PV materials are created with rare materials and several resources that need to be recycled to reduce the impact on the environment. Recycling the panels is important to avoid harmful chemicals released in the atmosphere and harming the environment and health in the long term. 

It is not fair to conclude that solar energy is overall bad when it is contributing to the reduction of environmental problems after setting up.

Why are solar panels green energy?

Solar panels are considered sustainable

Solar panels are commonly addressed as green energy, renewable or safe energy because it has the advantage of being a sustainable alternative to fossil fuels.

In comparison to the lifespan of fossil fuels, solar can exist as long as the sun shows up. 

Solar panels have a low environmental impact 

Once again, in comparison to burning fossil fuels, solar panels have a low environmental impact. With the adapting technology to use, solar panels can be created without water wastage. Some manufacturers opt for less harmful options when it comes to production. 

The technology for solar energy is becoming cost-competitive, even though it is expensive it is a green choice. 

Solar panels are independent energy

Till the sun shines brighter every day, every country has the potential to produce safe and green electricity and energy.

Hence, solar panels are considered a secure and independent way of producing energy.

What are the 5 merits of using solar energy as an energy source?

If you are interested in investing in green energy then solar panels can be the best option for you. It can be the start of an eco-friendly green lifestyle. Here are 5 advantages of installing solar panels in your home.

  1. Installing solar panels helps save money on your electricity bills.
  2. Solar panels reduce carbon emissions. 
  3. Despite the saying that solar panels only work when the sun shines brighter, one of the many benefits of installing solar panels in your home is that solar panels work anywhere in any kind of climate. Rain, snow, hurricane or light hail, when there is a slight hit of sunlight on the panels it starts generating electricity. 
  4. When you are not using the excess solar energy you can sell back, depending on the state you are living in. 
  5. Solar power is considered reliable and it can also grant you federal assistance.

Read more : How to choose the best solar panels for your home or business

What is the biggest problem with solar energy?

Everything has its own set of pros and cons, so do solar panels. Considering both the pros and cons will give you a better idea of what you are investing in.

  1. Solar panels are expensive to install. 
  2. Intermittency- Solar panels do not generate electricity during the night. This is important when you want to be off the grid and generate 100% powered electricity from solar panels. In case you are not in the grid then you will require electricity storage devices or you can be stuck with oil lamps during the nights. 
  3. Electricity storage devices are expensive. 
  4. Solar panels are hard to move once they are installed. 
  5. Solar panels require a lot of space. You have to choose the size of the panels depending on the space available in your home. 

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Miles Hingston

Miles Hingston

Owner of Ballarat Solar Company and MJ Electrician Ballarat

I have been working in the electrical business for over 20 years, and have 5 years of experience in the solar industry. Ballarat born and bred, I am a very active contributor to the community and I’m also a member of Alfredton Rotary club.We look forward to assisting you with all your solar needs. So feel free to give us a call anytime.

Michelle Rigg
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This is the 2nd house I've put solar on. I shopped around enormously and Miles from Ballarat Solar was outstanding. They are a local company, nothing was ever too much trouble and he always answered any questions I had. Josh and the crew he has working for him are very professional, knowledgeable and helpful too, especially with the app. At the time of installation I couldn't feed back in to the grid but the moment he heard that I might be able to, he offered the assistance I needed to enable this to occur, and it was done in a very timely manner. I highly recommend Miles, Josh and the team at Ballarat Solar Company and will be referring them to my family and friends for any future solar needs. :)
Tony Cawood
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The Bacchus Marsh Lions Club chose Ballarat Solar Company to install a Solar System comprising of a 15kW Inverter and 57 Solar Panels on the local Scout & Guide Hall. The company was very professional to deal with. From quote to installation was carried out on time and the workmanship was first class. The certificate of Safety was issued without a problem. I would not hesitate in recommending this company for future installations.
Rob McDougall
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Ballarat Solar Company were great to deal with, attentive to our requirements and recommended a great system that suited our needs. Nothing was too much trouble, their workers were very polite, worked hard and even cleaned up after themselves.
Robert Floky
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My dealings with the Ballarat Solar Company was an excellent experience with from start to finish. The service was professionally provided and completed with a quick and smooth turn around and no issues. I would not hesitate to recommend them to all.
Dale Whytcross
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Ballarat Solar Company are a very professional company, they came as promised, the workmanship was first class and quote was very competitive. I would recommend Ballarat Solar Company.

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