Most of our electricity in the United States comes from natural gas, oil or coal-fired power plants. In Rhode Island, over 90% of our electricity generation is fueled by Natural Gas. In addition to outputting electricity, power plants create polluting greenhouse gasses and chemical byproducts, including carbon dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, mercury and lead. These emissions damage human health, harm our environment, and disturb industries that rely solely on the stability and vigor of our state and nation’s natural resources. Environmental stewardship, caring for the natural life around us, is the responsibility of all Rhode Islanders.
Solar power is most productive mid-day to late afternoon when electricity is in peak demand, and this can help lessen the need for utilities to bring back-up generators online. The benefits of solar production are compounded during this period, as peaking power plants tend to produce the dirtiest and most expensive electricity.
Installing on-site solar electric generation will reduce the negative effects associated with consuming electricity generated by the burning of fossil fuels. However, we would be remiss not to mention that it does take energy and materials to produce, ship, and install the components that make up a solar array. Because solar panels produce electricity from free solar fuel, this “embodied energy” will be recouped in 2-3 years. You can be confident that installing a solar array on your property is both a good financial and environmental decision.