animals and solarDoes solar energy have any negative impact on the environment? What is the downside of Solar?

These are great questions to ask especially when it comes to Solar Farms in remote areas of our country. Scientists are asking if these types of large installations have any adverse effects on surrounding wildlife and the ecosystem. Arid regions for example have plants and animals living there that have adapted to very specific harsh environments. Some environmentalists fear that any change, such as a large solar energy farm in the middle of an area like this could disrupt that delicate ecosystem. However these same scientists are also asking if the environmental benefits of renewable energy outweigh the disruption.

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The environmental impact of using solar energy is negligible according to most environmental experts.  Solar energy is renewable – emitting zero toxins.  No one has to drill, frack or mine for solar power. It is always there, right over our heads. According to SEIA over 1 month, a small 1-kWh Solar System prevents 170 lbs. of coal from being burned, 300 lbs of CO2 from being released and 105 gallons of water from being consumed. So imagine how much greater the positive impact a large scale solar system has on the environment.

However, concerns still may remain when it comes to large installations in ecologically pristine regions. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is conducting wildlife studies comparing a solar array located in Boulder, CO to an existing control site.  NREL has left areas of the Boulder site untouched near the array, which will help to naturally reseed the ground.  They have also added a grass seed mixture beneath the array to help prevent erosion.

NREL Senior Biologist Brenda Beatty: “The experiments will begin to give us a handle on how Solar PV  installations and operations affect vegetation in our portion of the arid West, and the information obtained may be useful for other NREL projects, and for revegetation efforts at other solar installations.”

Can environmental preservation and renewable energy solutions work together? Absolutely.

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One thought on “How Solar Energy Impacts the Environment”

  • You may have some impact on the local environment with solar power, however I am willing to bet there is much less of an impact on the local environment then there is with traditional energy resources.

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