Coal vs. Clean Energy

The topic of the best way to produce energy to power our world has been debated for many decades upon decades. One of the many comparisons up for discussion is coal vs. clean energy. For a long time, we did not know the effects that coal would have on ourselves and, unfortunately, the rest of the environment.

Luckily, with advances in clean energy like solar power, we can work together to help heal our planet and guide future generations in making better choices.

What is Coal-Generated Energy?

Coal energy is made from combustible black or brownish-black sedimentary rocks that contain a very high amount of carbon and hydrocarbons. Because of this, coal is classified as a nonrenewable energy source, as it takes millions of years to form. For example, coal contains the energy stored by plants that lived hundreds of millions of years ago.[1]

How Is it Produced?

It all starts with old plants, millions of years old plants. Once the sedimentary rock or coal is mined, it is sent off to a coal plant to be turned into usable energy. At the plant, the coal is placed into a boiler to produce steam. The steam that is produced flows into a turbine that spins a generator to create electricity. The steam is then cooled and condensed into water, then returned to the boiler to start the process all over again.[2]

What Does it Do?

Although energy is produced to help power our homes, there can be harmful side effects of mining and producing coal. For example, miners exposed directly to toxic fumes, coal dust and toxic metals while mining, increased their risk of fatal lung diseases. In fact, the mining process of coal alone “has been responsible for over 100,000 deaths.”[3] So not only does coal energy cause harm to the human race, it is equally, if not worse, for our environment.

Coal can contain toxic elements and metals such as sulfur, mercury, lead and arsenic. When coal is burned to produce energy, all of these toxins are released into the air we breathe. These particles can increase pollution and are an danger to our health. Another environmental impact of coal is the large amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere from its burning. These emissions are linked to an increase in greenhouse gasses that can contribute to global warming.[4]

Solar vs. Coal: Carbon Footprint

If all of the harmful effects of coal mining on humans and the environment weren’t scary enough, things really come into focus when you look at the carbon footprint it leaves behind.

Here’s what we mean, “coal with a carbon content of 78 percent and a heating value of 14,000 Btu per pound emits about 204.3 pounds of carbon dioxide per million Btu when completely burned. Complete combustion of 1 short ton (2,000 pounds) of this coal will generate about 2.86 short tons of carbon dioxide.”[5]

Now, to the average person who does not know much about carbon footprints, this may not seem like an alarming number. But, compared to the carbon footprint of solar panels, it is alarming. The carbon dioxide (CO2) produced during solar panel manufacturing is about 50g of CO2 per kilowatt hour during the first few years of operation. This is about 20 times LESS than the carbon footprint of coal. A bonus to solar panels is that after about three years of operation, they become carbon neutral.[6]

Why Go Solar?

While it may seem like a no-brainer to switch to clean energy, you may still have some questions about its benefits. Fortunately, we have the answers. Having a solar panel system helps reduce your carbon footprint and helps save money in the long run. With solar, you can drastically reduce your utility bills, avoid rising energy costs, receive tax benefits, and increase your property value.

Going Solar with Momentum

Transitioning to cleaner, price-protected energy with Momentum is easy. From drafting your design blueprint to filing government paperwork and securing permits, to flipping the final switch to power up your panels – our team of experts is with you every step of the way.

We are ready to take on your project, no matter the budget, size or aesthetic preference. Call us at 1-888-MOMENTUM to learn more about making the switch today!

 

 

[1]https://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/coal/#:~:text=Coal%20is%20a%20combustible%20black,years%20ago%20in%20swampy%20forests.

[2] https://www.tva.com/energy/our-power-system/coal/how-a-coal-plant-works#:~:text=Coal%2Dfired%20plants%20produce%20electricity,to%20start%20the%20process%20over.

[3] https://arlweb.msha.gov/stats/centurystats/coalstats.asp

[4] https://www.dummies.com/education/science/environmental-science/what-is-the-environmental-impact-of-mining-and-burning-coal/#:~:text=Coal%20contains%20sulfur%20and%20other,carbon%20dioxide%20into%20the%20atmosphere.

[5]https://www.eia.gov/coal/production/quarterly/co2_article/co2.html#:~:text=For%20example%2C%20coal%20with%20a,million%20Btu%20when%20completely%20burned.&text=Complete%20combustion%20of%201%20short,short%20tons)%20of%20carbon%20dioxide.

[6] https://gvecsolarservice.com/how-clean-is-the-solar-panel-manufacturing-process-how-much-carbon-dioxide-is-produced/#:~:text=Accounting%20for%20the%20amount%20of,of%20coal%2Dpowered%20electricity%20sources.

 

 

What’s the Best Place to Put a Solar Panel?

With warmer weather approaching, you may be considering the benefits of going solar, but have you ever stopped to think if your home is suitable for solar panels? Believe it or not, a few factors come into play when placing solar panels on your home.

Let’s jump in!

Shade on Your Roof

Let’s start with shade being cast on your roof. This can happen for several reasons, but the outcome is always the same, reduced production. When looking to go solar, look at your roof and see how different factors may affect how much sun it gets[1]. Things to look out for are:

  1. Trees – Perhaps the most common issue! Trees can cause a great deal of shade on your home daily. This can stop your panels from performing optimally. We (and other solar providers) may suggest removing trees if they will affect your energy production.[2]
  2. Your Roof – The sun’s angle during a particular time of day can cast a shadow on different parts of a roof, like a chimney or a dormer.[3] It’s also important to determine which direction your roof faces, as some are more favorable than others.
  3. Clouds – We can’t talk about shade without mentioning clouds, but there’s good news on this front! Clouds still allow some sunlight to go through but note your panel production will be lower than a sunny day. At the same time, you don’t need to worry about clouds affecting your everyday production.[4]

The Slope of Your Roof

Believe it or not, there is a bit of math involved when you are looking to get solar panels on your home. The best position for your solar panels is a roof facing “true south” with a tilt of between 30 and 45 degrees. This will give you the best results for production. Solar panels produce the most electricity when placed perpendicular to the sun. In many cases, this angle is the latitude of where you live.[5]

Age of Your Roof

Lastly, how old is your roof? What does the wear and tear look like? Are there holes or lifted shingles? These are just a few questions any homeowner should be asking when considering adding solar panels to their roof. Solar panel systems are built to last anywhere between 25-40 years, so you will want to make sure your roof is in good shape and will not need to be replaced or repaired.[6]

Alternative Options Provided by Momentum

While many homeowners choose to install panels onto their homes, there may be some who either do not have the option to put panels on their roof or simply don’t want to. The best part of working with our team of solar specialists is that we can custom-design the perfect solar panel array for your home and provide alternative options.

Work with Our Dream Team

Building a greener future is easy when you work with Momentum. Our team puts in the work, time and effort needed to make your transition to clean energy seamless.

For more information, please call our dedicated team today at 1-888-MOMENTUM.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] https://news.energysage.com/solar-panels-work-shade/

[2] https://news.energysage.com/solar-panels-work-shade/

[3] https://news.energysage.com/solar-panels-work-shade/

[4] https://news.energysage.com/solar-panels-work-shade/

[5] https://news.energysage.com/solar-panel-performance-orientation-angle/

[6] https://news.energysage.com/is-my-roof-even-suitable-for-solar/