The sun provides us with unlimited solar energy. Unfortunately, we tend to use a lot of energy from the sun which is why there is a need for alternative energy sources. Luckily, there are ways to harness the energy from the sun while minimizing the damage.
The environment will be better off if we use less energy and instead use the energy from the sun to power our homes and factories. Thankfully, there are ways to achieve this. In this article, we will discuss the environmental impact of solar energy and ways to reduce it.
The Global Impact Of Solar Energy
Considering that we depend on solar energy for most of our daily needs, it is crucial to assess its impact on the environment. Let’s look at some of the major issues:
Wastewater And Solid Waste
For every single person on the planet, household wastewater and solid waste management is a major issue. Currently, more than a billion people in the world lack access to improved sanitation. When these people defecate without treatment, their waste water runs directly into rivers and lakes, causing them to become polluted. To solve this problem, we need to be more mindful when using solar energy. If we want to generate more power, then the option becomes clear; let’s build more power plants. However, if we really want to solve the issue, then we need to resort to more sustainable solutions.
For centuries, human beings have been using solar energy to cook their food. In some parts of the world, especially in Europe, the impact on the environment has been minimal because there is no need to build huge water tanks and proper sanitation is taken care of. The problem is that as our population has grown, the demand for energy has also increased. To keep up with the demand, we have turned to solar power generation which has led to issues with pollution.
The climate conditions in a country can be used to determine what crops can be grown there. For example, temperatures above a certain level will make it difficult for most plants to grow successfully. A good example of this is the area around the Arctic Circle. The region experiences a long, dark winter where the temperature remains low. During the winter months, it is dark for more than half of the day, which means that the energy from the sun does not reach Earth’s surface. This causes the environment to become cold, inhibiting the growth of plants and anything else that needs light to flourish.
There are ways in which we can prevent climate change and ensure better environmental conditions. One of the simplest solutions is to shift towards a more plant-based diet. Eating healthy, organic produce means that we will be absorbing fewer harmful toxins into our bodies. The toxins in food cause cancer and other serious health issues. So by avoiding these foods, we can prevent cancer and other diseases. The environment will be healthier and more stable if we reduce the amount of food that we consume and rely more on plant-based foods.
Air And Water Quality
Air quality has greatly improved in recent years but there are still problems in some parts of the world. If we want clean air to breathe, then it’s important to generate as little waste as possible. When we cook food, the energy we use contributes to the production of carbon dioxide which is harmful to the environment. We need to generate less energy and be more mindful when using it. Let’s not forget that electricity is also responsible for some water pollution. When the electric grid suffers damage, water treatment plants can be affected and in some cases, the damage can be severe.
Luckily, there are ways to minimize air and water pollution from energy production. For example, many plants use the sun to grow and the leaves of these plants act as sunglasses to protect the eyes of human beings and animals. When the plant reaches its peak, they will need to be replaced because they are no longer of use. We need to learn to be more sustainable when it comes to our energy use and make sure that we are not cluttering the environment with any waste. Let’s improve the energy efficiency of homes and businesses so that we can reduce our energy consumption and avoid causing any damage.
Energy Return On Investment
This metric is used to determine how much energy we get back for what we invest; the higher the ratio, the better. The solar energy industry is a very high-energy-consuming industry, mainly due to the fact that it needs equipment to harness the sun’s energy. The equipment is bulky and takes up a lot of room which is why buildings with large glass roofs are used to store this equipment. In 2020, the United States invested more than $16 billion in solar energy projects which generated enough energy to provide 10,000 homes with clean water. This led to a 26% increase in the annual return on investment. Clearly, the environment will be better off if we use more solar energy.
In some parts of the world, especially in the Middle East, buildings are made entirely out of solar-powered materials, meaning they do not rely on any fuels or imported materials for their construction. These buildings not only provide the inhabitants with ample sunlight but they are also home to countless creatures and plants who benefit from the clean air and water that the building provides. Let’s be more mindful and considerate when it comes to our energy use and how we can improve the environment.
Reducing The Environmental Impact Of Solar Energy
Thankfully, there are ways to reduce the environmental impact of solar energy. As we’ve established, cooking food with electricity results in the creation of carbon dioxide which is harmful to the environment. We can reduce our carbon footprint by cooking food only when necessary. There are several vegan or plant-based restaurants that will deliver food to your home wherever you are in the world. If you are a restaurant owner, why not provide your customers with healthy food that does not contribute to environmental destruction? Of course, you will need to invest in more sophisticated kitchenware and equipment. Invest in a water dispenser which is refillable and makes a lot of sense if you plan on serving beverages or food during the day. There are also several ways to produce electricity without any negative impact on the environment. For example, solar thermal energy uses mirrors to concentrate the sun’s rays, directly heating fluids like water or steam which then can be used to power turbines. This method does not result in any air pollution and even produces energy while removing CO2 from the atmosphere.
Other solutions include increasing the number of recycling plants and educate the public on the negative effects of throwing away food waste. If we really want to prevent climate change, then it’s imperative that we reduce our energy consumption and become more sustainable. Luckily, the sun provides us with endless sources of energy and if we utilize them properly, we will prevent many problems that plague our planet.