Are Solar Panels Sustainable?

Updated: January 25, 2022

Solar is among the leading contenders of sustainable sources of energy. But, are solar panels really sustainable?

Yes, solar panels are sustainable. Solar panels are made from silicon, metal and glass. Silica which is used to make silicon is the most abundant mineral in the crust of the earth. Glass and metal are also extremely abundant. However, there is a question mark over the processes to create the panels as well as what happens to them after they stop working in 20 years time.

Sustainability refers to the capacity to produce currently while still maintaining the same production capability for the future. But we really need to also focus on how clean the process is.

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Long-Lasting

Solar panels are durable. Once installed, solar panels can produce power for up to 30 years. Many solar manufacturers offer a 30-year warranty on their solar panels.

The durability of solar panels makes them sustainable. Depending on the manufacturer of the solar panels, your solar panels reduce their efficiency by 20% in about 10-15 years. In 25-30 years, the efficiency of the solar panels reduces until you need to replace them.

In addition, to their durability, solar panels have few maintenance needs. Compared to other sources of power and energy, you may need regular maintenance and replacements. Regular replacement and maintenance may impact the environment adversely.

Have A Never-Ending Source Of Energy

Solar panels produce electricity from the sun. Unlike oil, the sun will never end. Even when it sets, it will rise the following day and the solar panels will continue producing electricity to power your home.

On cold and cloudy days, solar panels may not produce power as effectively as when the sun is shining. To solve this problem, you can buy a solar battery system. It stores any excess energy produced by your solar panels.

The ability to store excess power makes a solar panel system sustainable.

Reduce Carbon Footprint

Unlike other sources of power, solar panels produce little to no emissions. This makes solar panels the most sustainable and cleanest source of energy.

By using solar panels for your home, your home doesn’t use power produced by polluting the environment such as electricity. Thus, it reduces your carbon footprint in the environment and also helps to reduce the amount of carbon in the environment.

Non-contaminating

Unlike other sources of power, solar does not use oil that contaminates the environment. Oil spills in the ocean and on land are regular occurrences in our day. Oil spills in the waters take a long time to clean up. During this time, they pollute the water and kill the life in the waters.

Solar panels are sustainable in the sense that they will not contaminate land or water. They are set on roofs and rain falls on them regularly over their lifespan. The rainwater that drains from the solar panels is considered contaminated.

Solar panels are made from materials that won’t contaminate the environment or water. This makes solar panels a sustainable source of energy.

Return On Investment

Purchasing solar panels for your home is an investment. When assessing whether to invest, you calculate the return on investment. For most solar panels, the return on investment is about 5-7 years.

How long it takes to recoup your investment in solar depends on your electricity usage. The higher your power bills, the more savings you make by investing in solar panels. Thus, the faster your return on investment.

Once you have recouped your investment, you get to enjoy free electricity for the lifespan of the solar panels. Thus, making solar panels a sustainable free source of electricity.

Reduce Reliance On The Grid Electricity

Many households, businesses, and industries rely on the grid for all their electricity needs. The higher the number of those reliant on the grid, the more oil it needs and the higher the environmental pollution it causes.

By installing solar panels in your household, you reduce reliance on the grid. When more people install solar panels, the electricity grid doesn’t need to use as much oil to supply electricity. Thus, solar panels help to make you energy independent while also helping reduce pollution from the grid.

Save On Water

Water is an essential commodity in everyday life. It serves many uses for both the world, humans, and animals.

A lot of water is used in the production of electricity and other sources of power such as nuclear energy.

The water used in energy production is not recycled. Most of it is lost in the energy production process and cannot be reused.

With solar, you don’t need water. All you need is a few hours of the sun shining directly onto the solar panels. It will provide enough electricity to power your home as effectively as electricity.

Slows Climate Change

Increased carbon emissions in a lot of human activities cause climate change. Any activity that takes place without emissions is good for the environment. It is sustainable and more of it is required.

Solar panels and the production of electricity by solar panels don’t produce carbon emissions. This makes solar panels sustainable as their continued use helps in preserving our environment

More and more activities that help to slow down climate change are taking place all over the world every day.

How Can You Make Solar Panels More Sustainable

Make Them Last Longer

One way to make solar panels more sustainable is by extending their lifetime. As mentioned, solar panels last for up to 20-30 years. In the first ten years, solar panels work at 100% effectiveness. In the last ten years, solar panels have lost over 80% of their effectiveness.

Solar panel manufacturers can make their panels last longer. The more their life is extended, the longer they will operate effectively. Consequently, the more sustainable they become.

Longer-lasting solar panels mean that they are rarely replaced and, that they maintain their effectiveness for longer.

Proper Disposal

Finding proper disposal of out-of-use solar panels will make solar panels more sustainable. It is not unlikely to find waste solar panels in landfills. Does improper disposal maintain the sustainability of solar panels?

Solar manufacturers should find a more sustainable way to dispose of solar panels. One effective way is by prolonging the life of solar panels. When solar panels have longer lives, users will not need to dispose of solar panels as often as they do now.

Additionally, solar panel manufacturers should find a way to repossess the out-of-use solar panels for safer disposal.

How They Are Manufactured

Solar panels are manufactured with rare earth minerals. To get the rare earth minerals, for the solar panels, they need to be mined. Mining rare earth minerals is an environmentally degrading process that is used to create solar panels that are sustainable and friendly to the environment.

To make solar panels more sustainable, manufacturers need to find alternative raw materials.

Repair

One reason why solar panels are sustainable is that they require no maintenance over their lifetime.

When solar panels get spoilt, they are not easily repaired. You have to replace the panels with new ones.

This makes the solar panels unsustainable as you have to dispose of the spoilt panel instead of having it repaired.

When solar panels are repairable, they will be more sustainable energy solutions.

FAQ's

One aspect of solar panels that makes them unsustainable is their upfront cost. Solar panels are expensive to purchase which prevents their adoption by more people around the world. In Australia, the federal and state governments offer price discounts for the installation of solar panels.

As solar production technology develops, solar panel production may get cheaper. As a result, solar panels will become cheaper. Cheaper solar panels will increase adoption. Cheaper solar panels will also be more sustainable than expensive solar panels.

There are many solar panel manufacturers in the market. Before you choose a solar panel for your home, carry out extensive research. Find out the best solar panels in the market. Talk to as many people who have installed solar in their homes before you install yours.

Additionally, talk to at least three solar installers before you decide on the solar panels you want to install. Find out how the solar panels in the market differ and their effectiveness. Also, ensure that you know how much the solar panels cost and the most cost-effective brand of solar panels you can buy.

How Do I Choose Solar Panels To Buy For My House

When we use sustainable energy, we use energy sources that will not run out as we use them. We use renewable energy sources that will be available today and in the future. Most sources of energy such as oil are finite and are likely to end at a certain point in the future hence the need to use sustainable energy.

Sustainable energy is also used to protect the environment. Most sources of current sources of energy have high emission levels. These destroy the environment the longer they are produced and used.

How much electricity your solar panels produce depends on how much sun they receive. Therefore, during the day you have a lot of electricity produced by your solar panels. At night, your solar panels may have some little power that you can use for basic lighting at home.

On cloudy days, solar panels produce little power so that you cannot run all the appliances in your home.

To enjoy solar power without sunshine, you will need a solar battery system. It stores the excess power produced by your solar panels so that you can use it at night and on cold and cloudy days.

Solar power is not as highly adopted as other sources of energy. First, solar panels are expensive to purchase and install. It costs thousands of dollars to purchase and have solar installed in your home.

Additionally, your home must be located in a place where the roof can receive sunshine unobstructed. If your roof is shaded, you cannot install solar panels on it. You will have to find a place in your compound without shade to fix the solar panels then connect them to your home.

In places with little sunshine, it may not be worth it to install solar panels as they will produce insufficient power.

Solar panels last for about 25-30 years. There are some manufacturers that offer a 30 year warranty on their solar panels. You can expect these solar panels to last longer than the warranty period.

Over this perild, your solar panels will serve you efficiently. Depending on the manufacturer, solar panels loss 20% of their effectiveness in 10 years. However, they will last for another 20 years until you need to replace them.

Once installed, solar panels require little maintenance or repair over their lifetime. You may never have to call your installer to your home to check on your solar panels for their lifetime.

Their durability, versatitlity and little need for repair makes solar panels sustainable energy sources.

If you have the required skills, tools and time you can easily DIY a solar panel installation project. However, having a pro install the panels for you is the best method. Solar panel installation is an electrical project that needs expertise and high safety levels.

Homegardenguides.com is a free too that connects you to solar installation pros fast and easy.

Enter your zip code at the top of the tool. Then, fill the subsequent form to provide more information on your solar installation project.

You will then receive quotes from at least three solar installation pros. Go through the quotes and advice offered by the pros. Then, choose one of them to complete your solar installation project.

Can You DIY Solar Panel Installation