As I’ve already discussed in this Going Green Tips series, one of the most important things we can do to go green is cut the coal. Cutting the A/C, especially if you live in a hot climate, is one great way to do so, as is getting a home energy audit. If you want to go a step further on this home energy front, one of the first things to consider is going solar.
How to Go Solar
There are many options for going solar. Many people just think about the option of buying solar panels on your own, but there are others as well.
- lease solar panels (it’s now the most popular way to go solar in California),
- buy in a group and get a good discount on your solar panels,
- own part of a community solar garden (or participate in some other solar hosting option),
- build solar panels yourself,
- steal them from your neighbor (just kidding!),
- finance a solar installation with PACE financing (if it’s available in your area),
- or (again, if it’s available in your area) just buy renewable energy credits instead of dirty energy from your electric company.
Why Solar is Green?
It is quite common knowledge that solar power is greener than most other options. The main ‘environmental’ benefits of solar are that:
- solar energy doesn’t emit greenhouse gases or other pollution (although, a very, very, very minimal amount is emitted in the production of solar panels) — on the other hand, coal and natural gas power are very harmful to the climate and other portions of the environment (solar and wind are clear winners when it comes to global warming and implementation is highly needed),
- solar energy, especially solar PV, uses very little water.
Of course, solar panels are not made of air, and some parts of both the product and process are not so green. Luckily, independent bodies are evaluating how green different solar power companies are and are promoting best practices in the field.
I'm the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular clean energy website in the world, and Planetsave, a leading green and science news site. I've been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and I've been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, bicycling, and wind energy for the past few years. You can also find my work on Scientific American, Reuters, Think Progress, GE's ecomagination site, several sites in the Important Media network, & many other places. To connect on some of your favorite social networks, go to zacharyshahan.com or click on some of the links below.