Many homeowners in South Carolina are interested in going solar because they want to minimize environmental issues and carbon emissions associated with fossil fuel based power plants. But just how much environmental benefit does going solar provide?

Here Are The Environmental Benefits Of Solar Energy In South Carolina

According to the EPA, the average household emits approximately 20 metric tons of carbon pollution each year. By installing a solar power system, a typical two-person household in South Carolina can eliminate 3 to 4 tons of carbon annually.

Environmental benefits of solar power


In the United States, 90 percent of electricity comes from thermoelectric power plants—coal, nuclear, natural gas, and oil—that require cooling. The remaining ten percent is produced by hydroelectric and other renewable energy facilities.

The percentage of water used by traditional power plants to make electricity is a significant amount. In fact, thermoelectric power plants make up 53% of all water consumption in the U.S. according to the EPA. This is more than Irrigation & Livestock, Industrial Mining, and Domestic & Commercial water consumption combined!

Nuclear power plants use the most water, followed by coal, oil, and combined cycle power plants. The table below was provided by the California Energy Commission:

By contrast, power produced from photovoltaic (PV) solar sources requires virtually zero water because solar power does not require water cooling.

Carbon Emissions & Air Quality

A byproduct of the power production process of burning fossil fuels like coal, oil & gas is greenhouse gas emissions. Greenhouse gases block infrared (long-wave) radiation from leaving the earth’s atmosphere. This greenhouse effect traps radiation from the sun and warms the planet’s surface. As concentrations of these gases increase, more warming occurs than would happen naturally. The biggest greenhouse gases are Carbon dioxide (CO2), Methane (CH4), and Nitrous oxide (N2O).

The EPA provided the following table showing the number of pounds of CO2 produced from burning different fossil fuels:

By producing your own clean energy with solar, you are reducing the amount of dirty power used from fossil fuel-based power generation. Solar power has ZERO greenhouse gas emissions! And keep in mind that solar energy is a renewable resource, meaning once it is used, it will replenish itself (unlike fossil fuels which will disappear once they are used).

Plus, by driving an electric vehicle, and powering it with solar, you essentially use sunlight for fuel, and drive with ZERO emissions!

A Closer Look At Reducing Carbon Emissions With Solar At Home

The 11,807 kWh produced each year by an 8 kW solar energy system in South Carolina is the environmental equivalent to 8.1 metric tons of CO2 NOT being emitted into the atmosphere. It is also equivalent to the carbon sequestered by 209 tree seedlings grown for 10 years, or 6.7 acres of U.S. forests in 1 year according to the EPA Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator.


Large Scale Solar’s Environmental Benefits

So above we discussed the environmental benefits of going solar at home, but we must not forget how powerful it can be to install large scale solar farms.

For example, 1 megawatt (MW) of new solar power capacity installed in the state of South Carolina (that’s 1 million watts of new solar power) is equivalent to the carbon sequestered by 17,681 tree seedlings grown for 10 years, or 565 acres of U.S. forests in 1 year according to the EPA Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator.

The South Carolina sun goes to work each day…Why not put it to work for you?!

Schedule a FREE solar consultation with Charleston-based solar installer Southern Current today! Ask us how to power your home with solar for under $150/month!