There are many motivations for adding solar to your home or business. Anytime you can make your own electricity, that’s energy that you don’t have to purchase from your local utility. As electricity costs continue to increase, especially with longer and hotter summers predicted as our climate continues to warm, making the switch to solar the best way to lock in decades of predictable energy costs. 

But the environmental impact of adding solar is just as compelling. And since Arizona utilities generate most of their electricity from dirtier sources such as coal, nuclear and natural gas, installing solar is a compelling way to contribute to a cleaner and more sustainable future while also putting money back in your pocket.

If you’re considering adding solar to your home or business,  It’s also important to consider the following eco-friendly advantages.

1. Solar reduces water pollution

This one is a little less obvious, but certainly one of the biggest environmental advantages of solar. While all manufacturing processes require some water, including those used to make solar panels, the total amount of water needed to generate solar electricity is dramatically less than more traditional electricity sources. Older technologies such as nuclear, natural gas, and coal-fired facilities, all require massive amounts of water for cooling purposes. With solar energy, there’s almost no risk to local water resources, nor does their operation strain local supplies by competing with agriculture, drinking systems, and other vital water needs.

2. Solar reduces strain on finite resources

Global population will continue to grow, but our Earth only has a finite amount of oil, coal, and natural gas to give up. The sun is Earth’s most abundant energy source, producing a staggering 173,000 terawatts of solar energy every second! That’s more than 10,000 times the world’s total combined energy use and it’s available again and again. In contrast, fossil fuels are dirty and totally non-renewable. At some point, they will simply be gone, or the cost of finding and extracting them will be way too expensive for our strained population. If we don’t change, the resulting damage to our environment and strain to our financial infrastructure may simply be repairable. Going solar is the best way to hedge against the reality of dwindling resources.

Going solar is like saving the planet and keeping the change. In fact, it’s pretty much the only home improvement investment that will have an immediate and measurable impact on the environment while putting money back into your pocket from the moment it’s activated.

3. Reducing air pollution

The air we breathe can help or hinder our health and wellbeing. Electricity generation from fossil fuels can generate harmful carbon dioxide and methane gases that lower the quality of the air we breathe. Breathing poor quality air on a daily basis can have dire consequences for our health. Air pollution has been linked to asthma and allergies, bronchitis, pneumonia, headaches, anxiety, heart attacks and even some cancers. Using the sun to generate more and more of our power means less and less harmful emissions from burning fossil fuels. Generating electricity from solar panels produce no harmful emissions, and the more homes and businesses that rely on solar power means less toxic emissions from fossil fuels into our air.

4. Help to slow climate change

The release of toxic gases into the atmosphere, such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide, doesn’t just contribute to air pollution, but also contributes to the enhanced greenhouse effect. While the greenhouse effect is a natural process that warms the Earth’s surface to a livable temperature, human activities, such as the burning of fossil fuels, have increased the amount of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere. This has led to the enhanced greenhouse effect, which is warming our earth faster than ever before. In recent years, this has been linked to a number of catastrophic weather events, such as flooding, cyclones, storms, extreme heat and drought. Generating electricity from solar panels produce no greenhouse gases whatsoever, and so can help to reduce the effect of climate change if used widely.  With solar energy powering a home or business, there is no burning of fuel and no emissions from energy production.

5. Reducing your household’s carbon footprint

Solar energy is one of the cleanest sources of energy, and it’s an extremely effective way of your household more efficient and sustainable. Solar panels don’t use any water to generate electricity, they don’t release harmful gases into the environment, and the source of their energy is abundant and, best of all, free. Using solar energy instead of the grid also means you reduce the need for carbon dioxide emitting energy to be produced for the grid on your behalf – for energy users on mainland Australia, you could offset anywhere between a half to one tonne of carbon dioxide for every megawatt-hour of solar energy you use. With even a small system installed on your home, you can help reduce your household’s carbon footprint and contribute personally to the Australian Renewable Energy Target.

6. Reducing our reliance on fossil fuels

Solar energy supplies are massive; if we could harness all of the sunlight shining on the earth for just one hour, we could use that energy to power the entire world for a whole year. The sunshine used in solar energy production is free, and there’s lots of it. On the other hand, fossil fuels are running out, and fast. Reducing our reliance on these finite resources and taking advantage of an abundant, free source of energy, such as sunlight, could mean lower energy prices, reduced greenhouse gas emissions and a stronger, more stable energy future.