Whenever solar energy is brought up, it’s often referred to as “green.” The only problem with claiming solar energy is green energy is that everyone seems to have a different opinion on what makes solar energy green, or any energy source green for that matter.
So what does make solar energy green and is solar energy the best form of green energy?
What is Green Energy?
Most energy sources require fuel to be burned in order to convert the fuel into usable energy. This process causes “carbon emissions” to be released in the atmosphere, which damage and weaken the ozone layer, which provides our skin with some protection against harmful UVA and UVB rays from the sun.
Carbon emissions are also said to cause major climate changes around the world. This is why the focus has been put onto green energy sources, which release significantly less carbon emissions. Sources of this type of energy typically include wind, water, solar, geothermal, and waves.
So what is green energy? To keep it simple, any source of energy that releases little to virtually no carbon emissions or other pollutants into the atmosphere fits the category of “green.”
What Makes Solar Energy Green?
Now that we know what green energy actually is, it’s time to look at what actually makes solar energy green. This can be best understood by examining the process in which solar energy is produced.
To start, solar energy from the sun strikes solar panels, which are coated with a thin silicon film containing protons and electrons. Once the sunlight strikes the solar panel, it creates an electric charge that is collected and processed. Since the charge is direct current to begin, it is easily converted by an inverter, and then transported to the electrical grid system.
That’s the entire process. What isn’t mentioned is anything related to burning whatsoever. That’s what makes solar energy green.
Solar Energy – The Perfect Energy Source?
However, solar energy is still far from perfect. As many reports have indicated, there are some deficiencies that need to be made. For example, the manufacturing process of solar panels does cause a fair amount of pollution because of the chemicals involved in the process. Cadmium and mercury are both removed and both chemicals are considered highly toxic. This is why manufacturers are legally obliged to dispose of the waste using specific processes.
Another area of improvement is to make solar panels have a longer shelf life. As of right now, the shelf life of a solar panel is around 30 years, which is great, but it could be improved upon at least a little bit. However, we can find more efficient ways to make harness more solar energy, the better for us as a society.
For now, solar energy still remains a growing source of green energy. It’s becoming cheaper and more readily available to the average homeowner, and we can only hope it’ll be the preferred source of energy to meet our demands in fifty years before climate damage becomes irrevocable.