Environmental Benefits

The problems presented by "Dirty Energy"

Every time you turn on your computer, washing machine, TV, or toaster, there is a fossil fuel power plant at the other end of the wire generating huge amounts of pollution. These power plant emissions contribute to poor air quality, acid rain, and climate change.

Electricity itself is not the problem. If we generated 100% of our electricity from the wind and sun, there would be no carbon emissions. But with the electric grid still heavily dependent on fossil fuels, electricity generation is responsible for roughly 40% of annual carbon emissions in the United States.

According to the EPA, the average U.S. household produces approximately 8 metric tons of CO2 a year - that is more carbon then the average passenger car emits in a year (approximately 5 metric tons). The single best thing you can do for the environment is to take control of your home's energy mix.

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Our Energy Supply in 2012

Over 70% of all electricity in the grid is supplied from power plants burning fossil fuels. After coal, the biggest power sources are natural gas and nuclear power. Natural gas produces half the greenhouse gas emissions of coal, but it's a fossil fuel that sooner or later will become scarce. Some tout nuclear power as relatively clean, but in reality, nuclear power has a large carbon price tag. Mining, transporting, and enriching uranium requires vast amounts of diesel, fuel, and water. In the wake of nuclear reactor meltdowns at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl, many people are concerned about the safety of nuclear power plants and have raised serious questions about where and how radioactive nuclear waste will be stored. The bottom line is that most folks don't fancy a nuclear power plant or waste dump in their backyard.

When it comes to safety, pollution, and long-term sustainability, there's no question that renewable energy is the way to go.

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It does take energy and resources to make solar panels, but according to the International Energy Agency, a solar panel basking in California sunshine will, in two years, generate the same amount of energy used to manufacture it. After two years, all the electricity generated by solar panels is effectively carbon-free! Solar Guide is here to make it easy for you to understand the benefits of solar energy. At Solar Guide, we believe one solution to climate change is to increase the global use of solar power. That's because when you use the sun to power your home, you make energy exactly where you need it, and with no loss of energy across long transmission lines. When your home generates electricity from the sun, you reduce the amount of electricity you draw off the grid and decrease the amount of carbon emitted into the atmosphere, all without having to change your lifestyle. Best of all, with a zero down solar lease program and Power Purchase Agreements (PPA); you can start saving money on your electricity bills, worry-free, from Day 1. And in most cases, you won't have any upfront cost. It's a no-brainer to go solar for any homeowner who wants to save money and help protect our planet.

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A public service of the California Solar Initiative


Solar Guide works with the CSI-Solar Program which is funded by California investor-owned utility customers and is administered by regional Program Administrators under the California Public Utilities Commission. 2012 Pacific Gas and Electric Company, San Diego Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison and Southern California Gas Company. Copyright and trademarks belong to their respective owners. All rights reserved.

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