solar pv and the environment
Solar PV is environmentally friendly because it generates electricity whilst not releasing any greenhouse gases. As with any product, they do have their own carbon footprint, which would be offset after around 2 years of electrical generation.
Greenhouse gases occur naturally in our atmosphere, and are important to ensure that our world can stay warm and maintain life. A greenhouse gas is a gas in our atmosphere that absorbs and emits radiation within the thermal infrared range – essentially scatters light as heat. Human activities are increasing the levels of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere, which is affecting our climate. Greenhouse gases include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, sulphur hexafluoride, hydrofluorocarbons and perfluorocarbons, as well as water vapour and ozone. The combustion of fossil fuels, for example in the generation of electricity, causes the release of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous dioxide. In the UK, in 2008, every kilowatt-hour of electricity generated caused the emission of the equivalent of 542.84g/CO2. It might not sound like much but this mass of CO2 as a volume is 274 litres or 580 pints.
One of the main components of solar PV is a silicon wafer which generates the electrical current. Silicon is the second most abundant element in the Earth’s crust, after oxygen, and makes up around 30% of the total mass – you would like to think that therefore it won’t run out, unlike fossil fuels.
How Freewatt came about and quickly became one of the Uk’s leading providers of solar PV
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