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Environmental benefits of solar energy

Solar energy for a sustainable future

At ADT Solar, we understand that resiliency and clean energy are vital to a better future. In recent years, the world has weathered through wildfires, hurricanes and other natural disasters, as a result of drastic changes in the climate.

We think the world might need an eco-superhero, and it’s time to throw our hat in the ring.

Since 2008, ADT Solar has installed 1.75 million kilowatts of rooftop solar. To put it into perspective, that means our installations could:

  • Offset about 7.4 billion pounds of carbon dioxide per year (1)
  • Send a Tesla Model 3 around the world 550,000 times (2)
  • Power 330 billion lightbulbs for an hour (3)

How do solar panels help the environment?

Solar energy plays an important role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and alleviating climate change.

Discover how:

  • Solar could help the power grid
  • Solar creates a cleaner, healthier environment
  • Solar can be used in many ways

In 2022, about 146 billion kWh of the electricity in the U.S. was generated by solar energy (4). Let’s take a closer look at why solar energy is becoming more popular. You never know, solar could one day become a crucial player in protecting human life, wildlife and this planet’s ecosystems.

Solar energy relieves some of the demand on the power grid

Power outages are becoming more common because of outdated infrastructure, rapid climate change and the massive demand that modern society places on the U.S. power grid. In fact, the U.S. Energy Information Administration projects that our power demand climbed up to 4,027 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) in 2022 (5).

Solar panels can feed their excess electricity back to the grid to offset the demand. They also lessen the amount of energy that needs to be transmitted over long distances and reduce the need for more power plants. These structures can be expensive to build and result in heavy pollution.

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Solar insight

In 2022, about 146 billion kWh of the electricity in the U.S. was generated by solar energy.

Solar energy could reduce greenhouse gas emissions

Using fossil fuels has a cost we might not be ready to pay. Burning fossil fuels emits greenhouse gases, which have a harmful impact on the weather, the climate, the quality of air we breathe ― and, as a result, our health. It’s estimated that in the top five most populous cities, air pollution caused over 160,000 deaths and cost $85.1 billion during 2020 (6).

The U.S. electric grid accounts for 28% of greenhouse gas emissions, which is more than a quarter of the country’s total emissions. As of today, there’s 151 million metric tons of carbon emissions reduced annually by solar energy. That’s the equivalent of 2.5 billion trees planted (7).

Most estimates of life-cycle emissions for solar energy systems are between 0.07 and 0.18 pounds of carbon dioxide per kilowatt-hour. This means that a solar panel’s carbon footprint is roughly 20 times less than other nonrenewable electricity sources (8).

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Solar insight

Only about 48% of the solar energy that strikes the Earth’s atmosphere filters down to the surface. The rest is absorbed by gases, dust, etc. or reflected back into space.

Solar technology has many innovations

The solar industry is always sporting new, dynamic technology to make utilizing solar energy even more sustainable, efficient, reliable and creative.

And we’ve developed even more wondrous ways to use solar. For instance, researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) used solar to purify water in Mexico (9). Learn more about cutting edge solar technology here.

Solar energy: a world-changing solution

With more resources and innovation, solar technology is always advancing. As people learn about the positive impact that solar energy has on the environment, it seems as though the conversion to solar power is inevitable.

As a renewable resource, solar can replenish itself in spite of consumption. Only about 48% of the solar energy that strikes the Earth’s atmosphere filters down to the surface (10). The rest is absorbed by gases, dust, etc. or reflected back into space.

But don’t worry, there’s more than enough energy to go around. In fact, each hour, about 430 quintillion Joules of energy from the sun hits the Earth. The amount of solar energy that strikes the Earth in one hour is more than the entire world consumes in an entire year (11).

Changing the world, one installation at a time

In the U.S., there’s enough solar installed to power over 25 million homes (12). With a rate of growth averaging 33% every year, it’s safe to say that we’ve been in a solar boom for the past 10 years.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the U.S. plans to add 54.5 gigawatts (GW) of new utility-scale electric-generating capacity to the U.S. power grid in 2023. More than half of this capacity will be solar power (54%), followed by battery storage (13).

Through innovation and ingenuity, we can use solar energy to help our planet and reduce the use of limited resources like fossil fuels. Solar can not only make life on Earth more livable, but once again, it could give us the chance to thrive. Toss on your cape, and join us on a trip to the sun.

Contact one of our Solar Energy Specialists for a free consultation to see how solar energy could help YOU be an eco-superhero!

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Solar insight

The U.S. plans to add 54.5 gigawatts (GW) of new utility-scale electric-generating capacity to the U.S. power grid in 2023. More than half of this capacity will be solar power (54%), followed by battery storage.

Sources
  1. Calculation based off of 2.23 lbs of carbon used to produce 1 kwh (per eia.gov)
  2. Calculation based off annual energy use estimate (34 kWh/year) from the Google Nest Cam IQ Outdoor Product environmental report: https://services.google.com/fh/files/misc/nestiqoutdoor_productenvironmenteeport.pdf
  3. Calculation based off of an average 4.17 miles per kWh of the Tesla Model 3: ev-database.org/car/1322/Tesla-Model-3-Performance
  4. U.S. Energy Information Administration: https://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.php?id=427&t=3
  5. Reuters: https://www.reuters.com/world/us/us-power-use-reach-record-high-2022-economy-grows-eia-says-2022-08-09/
  6. IQ Air: https://www.iqair.com/us/newsroom/cost-of-air-pollution
  7. Solar Energy Industries Association: https://www.seia.org/research-resources/solar-data-cheat-sheet
  8. Cool Effect: https://www.cooleffect.org/solar-carbon-footprint
  9. Massachusetts Institute of Technology: https://news.mit.edu/2015/mexican-village-solar-power-purify-water-1008
  10. NASA Earth Observatory: https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/features/EnergyBalance/page4.php
  11. Insider: https://www.businessinsider.com/this-is-the-potential-of-solar-power-2015-9
  12. Solar Energy Industries Association: https://www.seia.org/us-solar-market-insight
  13. U.S. Energy Information Administration: https://www.eia.gov/electricity/data/eia860m/