We all use electrical energy in a variety of ways in our life without thinking about the source or environmental cost of this energy. In our region of the US most of our power is produced through the burning of fossil fuels, primarily coal, in power plants. The combustion of fossil fuels for energy production is attributed to global warming and a host of other environmental and social problems. Thus our energy use creates pollution and environmental degradation–however it is not always noticeable to us because it is not in our backyard.
Renewable energy technologies have matured to the point where they can reasonably be incorporated into our lives with little impact on us while allowing us to live in a more environmentally friendly manner. Solar photovoltaic panels, which can be easily incorporated into a variety of building environments, often without visual impact, will produce over 6 times the amount of energy that it takes to make the panel over its 25 year lifecycle. Aside from having a significant impact on the environment (by avoiding the combustion of fossil fuels), with proper governmental incentives they are also a good financial investment.