Solar panels are a remarkably clean and efficient way to generate energy both on a residential and commercial scale. The energy generated is environmentally friendly, but exactly what are the environmental impacts of having solar panels?
Like many questions regarding solar, this depends. It depends on the size of the system, the amount of sunshine and the efficiency of the paneling used.
Location of the panels also dictates how much carbon dioxide is prevented through their use. This of course favors rooftops that receive direct sunlight for a majority of the day.
To put that into perspective, that would take around 20 fully grown trees per household to match the carbon emission elimination of solar. If you scale this up to match the number of residences in the United States, you can see domestically how monumental this is.
Another way to look at it is that for every home that goes solar, it is akin to taking one car off the road in terms of pollution. Now if only that worked for the traffic in Austin!
Due to these variables, it is often easiest to talk about solar panels and the averages that we see here at Envirosolar Power. On average, we see solar panels offsetting somewhere between 1 to 5.5 tons of carbon per year over their 25+ year lifespan.