Why solar?

Because it saves the planet and saves you money!

Why Go Solar


Which image more accurately depicts our planet and it’s atmosphere?  While the one on the right may be how we think or our planet, the image on the left is what astronauts really see.  It gives you a sense for how paper-thin and fragile our atmosphere really is.

CO2 and Global Warming


97% of climate scientists agree that global warming is due to human activities beginning with the advent of the industrial age and proceeding at a rate that is unprecedented in our history.

The graph (at right) was prepared by NASA; it compares the current levels of CO2 in the air to historical samples (taken from atmospheric samples contained in ice cores).  It shows the dramatic increase in CO2 in our atmosphere today.

CO2 levels of more than 400 parts per million in our atmosphere have been measured for the first time.  In over 400,000 years we have never observed levels this high.  As levels continue to rise and the related environmental problems worsen, only a societal commitment to clean energy can ensure the health of our planet.

Renewable Energy is Great for the Planet

Converting to solar energy is the biggest change you can make to fight global warming. Approximately 67% of electricity in the U.S. is generated by burning fossil fuels, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Fossil fuels are the leading cause of climate change. Generating electric power causes over a third of all green house gas emissions in the United States (source: Environmental Protection Agency). Reducing the electricity we draw from the grid means reducing carbon emissions. That means cleaner air, water and soil for your family, community, and generations to come.

A Measurable Difference

To get a sense for how much benefit to the environment can be achieved by converting to solar power let’s look at a typical apartment community in Atlanta, GA.  We will assume the property has an average monthly electric bill of $400 for the offices and community common spaces.  At 11.88 cents per kWH (2016 average), that’s 3,367 kWH per month.  A 20 kW net metered solar system would offset approximately 85% of the monthly electric use or 2,833 kWH per month.   The reason it’s generally 85% and not 100% is because most net metering agreements will only allow you to offset the amount of electricity that you actually use in a given month.

For a more precise estimate of solar production or a specific location and type of equipment, you can use the Department of Energy PV Watts Calculator at http://pvwatts.nrel.gov/pvwatts.php

Solar panels have a life of at least 30 years), so once you install your solar panels, the environmental benefits last for decades.

For more information on the environmental impact of reduced carbon emissions, visit http://www.epa.gov/energy/greenhouse-gas-equivalencies-calculator

Here are some ways to think about the environmental impact that the installation of the 20 kW net metered solar system can have on the planet over the life of the panels:

The Big Sunny Picture


Solar energy is far and away the most plentiful source of energy.  Just 18 days of sunshine on Earth contains the same amount of energy as is stored in all of the planet’s reserves of coal, oil, and natural gas.

No other energy source compares to the energy potential of sunshine. Note that circles for coal, uranium, petroleum, and natural gas are TOTAL recoverable reserves, whereas the renewable energy circles (including the giant yellow solar energy one) are for energy potential per year.

Solar energy is the most abundant energy source on the planet, by far.

Averaged over the entire surface of the planet, a square meter collects 4.2 kilowatt-hours of energy every day, or the approximate energy equivalent of nearly a barrel of oil per year.

Rooftop PV panels make solar power viable in virtually every part of the United States. In a sunny location such as Los Angeles or Phoenix, a five-kilowatt residential system produces an average of 7,000 to 8,000 kilowatt-hours per year, roughly equivalent to the electricity usage of a typical U.S. household.

Solar achieves similar results in many other parts of the country as well. For example, in some northern locations—such as Portland, Maine—that same system generates 85 percent of what it would in Los Angeles on average, and 95 percent of what it would in Miami. (And the system in Maine would actually generate 6 percent more electricity than in Houston using the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). 2014a. PVWatts® calculator.).

Solar Cell Area required to Power the Planet

To figure this out, the folks at Land Art Generator did the following math:

678 quadrillion Btu (the US Energy Information Administration’s estimation of global energy consumption by 2030) = 198,721,800,000,000 kilowatt-hours (simple conversion) divided by 400 kilowatt-hours of solar energy production per square meter of land (based on 20% efficiency, 70% sunshine days per year and the fact that 1,000 watts of solar energy strikes each square meter of land on Earth) = 496,805 square kilometers of solar panels (191,817 square miles)

Solar will soon dominate

The beautiful math of solar power