Many homeowners, businesses and non-profits go solar because they are focused on minimizing environmental issues like climate change and health problems related to carbon emissions. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the average household emits approximately 20 metric tons of carbon pollution each year. By installing a solar power system, a typical two-person household reduces their carbon emissions by three to four tons annually.
The U.S. Green Building Council reports that buildings contribute 39 percent of all carbon emissions in the United States. Going solar helps to decrease these effects. While every home, business or non-profit that adopts solar power makes a dent in our pollution levels, the cumulative effect of property owners adopting solar across the country is what really makes a lasting impact.
How, exactly, does solar reduce greenhouse gas emissions? The electricity that solar panels produce is completely emissions free. When you use renewable solar energy to meet your energy needs, you reduce the demand for electricity from your utility. As a result, your utility plant emits less carbon when producing the power needed to meet customer demand. Depending on the resources that your utility uses to produce energy — many are still reliant fossil fuels like coal—the impact of your decision to go solar could be very significant.