We live in a world where the burning of fossil fuels to produce energy is no longer necessary. There are now many alternative forms of energy available which, when used, reduces our carbon footprint and the impact we have on the environment. These methods, such as solar panels, provide us with a sustainable energy source that will be around for many years.
In just one hour, the surface of the planet receives enough energy to power the whole world for one year. By harnessing this energy using solar photovoltaic panels, it becomes a lot simpler to meet our energy requirements. Solar is a great example of truly renewable energy, as it puts no additional strain on the sun and therefore considered as utilising a vital and long lasting resource. With scientists agreeing that the sun will not burn out for 5 billion years, it’s safe to say that solar power is a viable option for the foreseeable future!
The reasons for investing in solar panels are many. For domestic installations, the government introduced the Feed-in Tariff back in 2010 which ensures a great return on investment; one higher than savings accounts/ISAs. There are also savings to be had, as generating your own electricity means less reliance on the national grid allowing electricity bills to be significantly reduced.
Another key reason for investing in solar energy are the environmental benefits. Whilst they have been overshadowed somewhat by the financial incentives that were implemented with the roll out of the Feed-in Tariff (FIT), it is important to remember that this was introduced for environmental reasons as a way of encouraging homeowners and organisations to invest in renewable energy source, which would in turn go a long way in helping the country meet its environmental targets and reduce its carbon footprint.
Our carbon footprint gauges the impact that our activities have on the environment, measured by CO2 emissions. Our carbon footprints are primarily produced from the burning of fossil fuels for heating, production, transportation and shipping. These can all be reduced by making some simple changes that will reduce the amount of CO2 produced. Choosing local produce over supermarket food where possible can reduce our carbon footprint, as locally sourced food will have little or no carbon emissions tied to them.
Heating and powering the home or business through renewable sources of energy is one of the more significant changes that can heavily reduce our carbon footprint. Heat and power are a huge source of CO2 and can therefore make a huge difference when reductions are made.
Whilst the government is responsible for the reduction of carbon emissions, it is also down to the individual to ensure that adequate reductions are made. The clean energy that a solar photovoltaic system produces will be used in the home, effectively replacing the electricity that would have been sourced from the energy supplier. This results in less consumption of energy derived from the burning of fossil fuels.
Once installed, the environmental benefits of solar panels are immediately effective. The energy that they draw is free, as the sunlight that hits the panels is converted into free and clean electricity. However, there are other forms of renewable energy. One of these is ‘clean fuels’. Because of physical and chemical properties, they create less pollution than fossil fuels. The hydrocarbons emitted from these kinds of fuels are much less, and the hydrocarbons that are emitted are far less toxic. These ‘clean fuels’ can be chosen as alternatives to more traditional means such as petrol and gasoline. They also allow a reduction in our carbon footprint from the lifecycle of the products that they use.