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Environmental Benefits of Solar Energy

Environmental Benefits of Solar Energy

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Published by Del Quarcoo

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Published by: Del Quarcoo on Aug 04, 2011
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Environmental Benefits of Solar Energy
By Andy Kirmayer, eHow Contributor 
Print this articleEnvironmental Benefits of Solar EnergySolar energy is the most abundant and most efficient of all the potential power sources. It can beapplied to many applications and, given its quantity, has the potential to substitute all other formsof energy production. Solar energy can be derived from photovoltaic panels or solar thermalcollectors, which can be placed anywhere there is sunlight. Technologies are constantly beingdeveloped to make harvesting energy from the sun more practical.
Using solar energy conserves natural resources, results in less pollution in theatmosphere caused by particulates, and reduces waste caused by coal burningfrom mining, transport and plant operations.
Solar energy is not only more efficient than other ways to create energy but isavailable anywhere in the world where the sun shines.
Since solar energy is so efficient, solar plants don't have to be as large as windfarms, for example, and solar panels can even be placed on rooftops to power individual buildings.
The amount of solar energy that hits Earth in a year is so huge that it is equal totwice the energy that all coal, oil, natural gas and other resources can ever generate.
Homes using solar technology for cooling, heating, and ventilation can save 50 percent of their energy use. In addition, solar systems can be developed for cooking, create process heat for factories and to distill water.Read more:Environmental Benefits of Solar Energy | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/facts_4777404_environmental-benefits-solar-energy.html#ixzz1QaIeW6gM
Solar Energy Development Environmental Considerations
Utility-scale solar energy environmental considerations include land disturbance/land useimpacts, visual impacts, impacts associated with hazardous materials, and potential impacts onwater and other resources, depending on the solar technology employed.Solar power plants reduce the environmental impacts of combustion used in fossil fuel power generation such as green house gas and other air pollution emissions. However, concerns have been raised over land disturbance, visual impacts, and the use of potentially hazardous materialsin some systems. These and other concerns associated with solar energy development arediscussed below, and will be addressed in the Solar Energy Development Programmatic EIS.
Land Disturbance/Land Use Impacts
All utility-scale solar energy facilities require relatively large areas for solar radiation collectionwhen used to generate electricity at a commercial scale, and the large arrays of solar collectorsmay interfere with natural sunlight, rainfall, and drainage, which could have a variety of effectson plants and animals. Solar arrays may also create avian perching opportunities that could affect both bird and prey populations. Land disturbance could also affect archeological resources. Solar facilities may interfere with existing land uses, such as grazing. Proper siting decisions can helpto avoid land disturbance and land use impacts.
Visual Impacts
Because they are generally large facilities with numerous highly geometric and sometimes highlyreflective surfaces, solar energy facilities may create visual impacts; however, being visible is

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