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Solar Energy’s Community Impact

Posted on: January 21st, 2021

Solar energy is a renewable resource that has the potential to power our Earth in a way that minimizes damage to our environment. In the last blog from Solar is Freedom, we discussed the overall negative environmental impact that fossil fuel energy has on the planet. We learned about the potential of solar energy IF we can make it our primary energy source. Climate change is a dangerous phenomenon happening. Consistent and substantial scientific evidence such as global temperature rise, warming oceans, shrinking ice sheets, glacial retreat, decreased snow cover, sea-level rise, and rising numbers of extremely high-temperature weather events. According to NASA’s climate change scientists, “There is no question that increased levels of greenhouse gases must cause Earth to warm in response.” (Climate Change: How Do We Know?). 

What are the causes of climate system change that is harmful to life on Earth, you might ask? Scientists are overwhelmingly certain that they are all a direct result of carbon dioxide emissions, a majority of which come from burning fossil fuels, to create what you may have heard of as the greenhouse effect. This effect keeps all of these warming gases trapped within our atmosphere. The scientific evidence is clear, and the scientific community agrees that climate change is an existential threat to our very existence. But what does the public think? According to a study conducted in April 2020, by the Yale program on Climate Change Communication, there are a few interesting poll results to give a general overview of how Americans currently view climate change. 

Global Warming Chart

The chart above shows the percentage of Americans who did/didn’t believe in global warming happening vs. not happening in 2017. As you can see even three years ago between 60-70% of Americans consistently said they believed while only a peak of 23% said they didn’t.

 

Even though it seems that United States citizens are mostly coming to terms with the fact that global warming is in fact occurring, there are people out there who believe that global warming either isn’t happening. Some believe in the change, but do not believe it will be a big deal for them personally or that there are other, more pressing issues to resolve. These people choose to discard its relevance and are largely unaware of the true harmful potential. These people hardly get excited about solar energy’s potential to alter the course we are on towards devastating climate change. The amazing thing about solar energy, however, is that it not only has an incredibly positive effect on our planet’s environment, it also provides value to today. The average American homeowner in the majority of states can save money immediately with a purchase of a residential solar array. By making that purchase with a local company, solar energy can benefit communities through job creation and business ownership opportunities. 

There are plenty of ways community solar can positively impact all the people within it. For example, even if you do not own your home and can’t make the choice to add solar panels to your roof, community-based projects create access to solar for all residents. This is done through the use of a solar panel farm which allows everyone to enjoy the savings and positive environmental effects of solar energy! Another benefit of having shared community solar energy is that houses don’t need to have individual installations, so if your home is shaded, or your roof is not shaped just right for supporting panels, community solar allows all homes to draw from one solar energy source, and collectively receive cheaper utility bills. The most important aspect of solar energy created in a community is that it helps to build energy independence. By adding community solar to an area, it helps Americans to “rely less on global energy markets, protecting us from unstable energy prices and supply disruptions.” (What Are the Benefits). 

Aside from offering massive communal benefits in terms of saving money, solar energy in general already has created over one hundred thousand jobs in the United States based on a study done in 2016, and solar has only continued to grow since. Solar photovoltaic installer is the fastest-growing job in America. Solar is creating new employment opportunities faster than any other energy source combined.  

Solar Energy Installer

This is a Solar Photovoltaic Installer. They have a median yearly pay of 38,000, median hourly wage of $18 USD per hour, require a high school diploma or GED, and are expected to grow as much as 24% over the next ten years based on a study conducted in 2014.

 

Solar energy not only benefits the environment that encompasses us all, but it can also have positive impacts on the communities we live in right now! By creating ways for all residents to save money, while simultaneously providing communities with economic stimulation in the form of increased cash circulation and job growth. The beauty of renewable energy is the fact that it helps people on all fronts. NO sacrifice needed to believe in and support solar energy! You must ask yourself if you’re someone who is not so concerned with climate change, “what kind of world do I want to leave for future generations? What kind of world do I want my kids, and my grandkids growing up in?” The planet is warming and all the scientific evidence shows we as humans are to blame for the huge decline of our shared home. With ever-advancing solar energy innovation, companies such as Solar is Freedom are able to help people protect themselves and their loved ones from an unclean future. But the best part? Solar also has the power to inject local economies with jobs and increased value. Every property owner can actually start to collect the benefits of solar energy right here in the present. 

By adding solar energy to the communities of today we can show the youth that it’s never too late to keep fighting for a just cause. That no matter how far down the wrong path you’ve wondered, you can always backtrack to the start and take another route. We can lead by example, and start taking responsibility for our communities and our environment! Solar energy is something that not only protects our future and the environment that surrounds us but also protects the present by stimulating the economy and instilling hope for what lies ahead.  

 

Works Cited

 

“Climate Change Evidence: How Do We Know?” NASA, NASA, 6 Oct. 2020, climate.nasa.gov/evidence/. 

“Climate Change Impacts.” Climate Change Impacts | National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, www.noaa.gov/education/resource-collections/climate/climate-change-impacts. 

 

“Climate Change in the American Mind: April 2020.” Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, 18 May 2020, climatecommunication.yale.edu/publications/climate-change-in-the-american-mind-april-2020/2/. 

“How Community Solar Works: A Pros and Cons Analysis.” Green Coast, 12 Nov. 2019, greencoast.org/how-community-solar-works/. 

Young, Christie, et al. “What Are the Benefits of Community Solar? – Solstice™  Community Solar.” Solstice, 2 July 2019, solstice.us/solstice-blog/community-solar-benefits/.