When your solar energy system generates more electricity than you consume, the excess power returns to the grid. You’re compensated for this through a bill credit. Like any energy source, solar has environmental impacts throughout its life cycle. This includes the raw materials, greenhouse gasses used in production, and end-of-life waste.
Reduces Greenhouse Gas Emissions
With a growing number of state and national programs, solar energy is poised to help address climate change while stimulating economies, creating jobs, and increasing grid integrity and security. A greater reliance on this untapped resource can lessen our over-reliance on price-volatile and carbon-intensive fossil fuels that produce much of the world’s electricity. Your solar panel system’s energy production is greatest during peak daylight hours, so if you use more energy than your system produces, the power meter runs backward and grants credits to you measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh). This is called net metering. Many customers on time-of-use pricing plans save the most by shifting their energy usage to off-peak times, like mid-day or evening. Some buy back solar energy in California programs offer you a credit on your bill (like net metering), while others pay you a cash amount, month to month, for your overproduction. These are sometimes called performance-based incentives, or PBIs. PBIs can replace or exist alongside traditional net metering policies.
Reduces Air Pollution
Solar energy creates clean, renewable power that helps reduce conventional air pollutants, such as sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide. These pollutants are a major source of environmental and health problems, including asthma, bronchitis, and other respiratory diseases. Solar energy can also reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, which contribute to climate change. Solar panels generate the most energy during peak daylight hours when people are typically home and using less electricity. This extra energy goes into the grid, which allows homeowners to earn credits on their bills measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh). These credit values vary depending on the location of the solar installation and its plan type.
Reduces Water Consumption
Solar energy produces electricity without releasing any harmful air emissions and is a cleaner alternative to fossil fuels, which have many greenhouse gases when burned. When discussing solar energy, it is vital to consider the environmental impact of the materials utilized in producing and installing solar panels. These resources may not be sustainable in the future and need to be recycled or disposed of properly. Solar buyback programs pay solar customers for the excess electricity they generate over their consumption. Depending on your electric company, these credits are sent back to the grid through existing power lines and can be redeemed for bill credits or cash. Unlike net metering, which only credits the energy used on-site, buyback programs value every kilowatt-hour of electricity you send to the grid. Ultimately, these changes prevent the excess energy you create from going to waste and reduce your utility bills.
Reduces Noise Pollution
Solar energy is a clean, renewable source of power that produces no harmful gases and reduces your reliance on fossil fuels and the grid. It also helps to manage rising electricity prices. With solar buyback programs, residents that generate more energy than they consume get credited on their utility bill at the end of the month. This can make them eligible for tax breaks and rebate incentives that help with the cost of installation. Additionally, it incentivizes more customers to adopt solar paired with battery storage. Combining these two technologies will reduce the time it takes for homeowners to recoup their investment.
Increases Wildlife Habitat
Regardless of the type of energy production used, clearing land for development will have long-term effects on wildlife habitat. Audubon promotes photovoltaic solar projects that avoid, minimize or mitigate impacts on birds and other wildlife. We also ensure that money from new energy development on public lands and offshore is proactively directed toward wildlife conservation through programs like the Wetlands Reserve and Conservation Reserve programs. A growing market for renewables could offer new opportunities for directing mitigation funding from individual projects to conservation efforts across a region. Creating wildlife-friendly solar projects can be a great way for sportsmen and women to contribute to their local habitat.
Solar energy allows consumers to create electricity without needing a power plant. However, not all households use the entire amount of energy their solar panels generate during peak daylight hours. That’s where buyback solar energy programs come in. When homeowners with solar panels produce more energy than they consume, their utility company compensates them for it through bill credits on their energy bills. This is also known as “net metering.” Many electric companies offer solar buyback programs to encourage people to support their power grid. These programs help reduce energy costs for residents and the environment. While sunlight is unlimited, the materials used to make solar panels aren’t. That’s why recycling options for solar energy are crucial.