Sara Bronfman: Are solar panels really that ‘green’?

Read the latest Sara Bronfman blog. Sara Bronfman is a true environmentalist by hear. In today’s blog, Sara shares about Solar Energy. Is solar energy really zero emissions, clean and sustainable? What’s wrong about it? Let’s find out.

Solar requires a significant amount of energy up front to produce. Mining, manufacturing and transportation all require substantial amounts energy. Quartz must be processed, and cleaned and then manufactured with other components which may come from different facilities (aluminum, copper etc..) to produce a single solar module.

Heating the quartz during the processing stage requires very high heat. Manufacturing requires combining multiple materials with incredible precision to produce high efficiency panels. All of this requires lots of up-front energy. With traditional fuels such as gas or goal,they are extracted, cleaned/processed and burned at very large scales,typically in a single location.

The problem here isn’t really about these minerals being finite resources because there are still many reserves, Sara Bronfman said. It is about the mining activities themselves. Indeed, the extraction and the chemical separation processes to get these minerals is very polluting. Together with other impacts like soil erosion or mercury contamination, mining activities can pollute the air, water, and soils and harm local biodiversity and populations. The mitigation of these and other risks depend on the local sites’ governance practices, Sara Bronfman added.

What Are The Advantages Of Solar Energy?

• Among all the benefits of solar panels, It can be harnessed in all areas of the world and is available every day. We cannot run out of solar energy, unlike some of the other sources of energy. Solar energy will be accessible as long as we have the sun, therefore sunlight will be available to us for at least 5 billion years when according to scientists the sun is going to die.
• Since you will be meeting some of your energy needs with the electricity your solar system has generated, your energy bills will drop.
• Solar energy can be used to produce electricity in areas without access to the energy grid, to distill water in regions with limited clean water supplies and to power satellites in space.
• Solar energy systems generally don’t require a lot of maintenance. You only need to keep them relatively clean, so cleaning them a couple of times per year will do the job.

Have you read?

Conclusion

Solar energy is not perfect. Like everything in life, there are upsides and downsides.

Yes, vast amounts of energy are required to mine/manufacture solar panels and yes, chemicals are used during the manufacturing process. These two irrefutable facts do not equate to solar panels having a net negative impact though, as the data suggests. The reduced emissions from using solarenergy versus any fossil fuel (especially coal) make the technology extremely beneficial.

Questions, comments or concerns? Would love to hear your thoughts on this.

Sara Bronfman is deeply concerned about climate change and she embraces a greener future through her initiatives. Join Sara’s community today and get free updates on how you can make a difference on the Sara Bronfman website. Jump in and contribute your views about solar energy on the Sara Bronfman Facebook here. You can also check out the Sara Bronfman Amazon page here.

Published by Sara Bronfman

Welcome to the Sara Bronfman blog. Sara Bronfman is an American heiress and philanthropist. Sara believes that sustainability is about more than just where we live and how much energy we consume, important as those choices are. Follow Sara Bronfman and her work and learn more about her views on how we can help prevent climate change on the links below.

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