Many of us think solar power is better for the environment than fossil fuels, but don’t know exactly in what way or how much. To help sort out the real environmental impact of solar photovoltaics (PV), StraightUp Solar looked at the life cycle analysis of solar systems compared to fossil fuels.

Once installed, solar panels produce energy without any emissions, but manufacturing the system parts still requires energy. Here is a summary:

Unfortunately, the Midwest is disproportionally reliant on coal for power. Missouri, for example, gets 85% of its power from coal compared to 50% nationally.

Using renewable sources of solar provides a cleaner, healthier, and more sustainable option for electricity generation even considering the minimal amount of energy that is required to produce the panels and other system components.

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