Published on September 8th, 2013 | by gatsbyadmin0
Coal vs. Solar Power
THE REALITIES OF COAL
Since the start of the industrial revolution, coal has been a cheap and affective energy source around the globe – but it’s come with a price. When coal is burned, large amounts of carbon dioxide, mercury, arsenic, and selenium are emitted into the atmosphere, all which contribute to global warming.
In addition, coal has destroyed communities that live within the vicinity of energy plants. Many people who live in coal-mining regions have spent their careers working in the mines. The irony? The plants that drive these economies in mining towns have been the cause of serious health problems in its workers. Pollution from soot, smoke, and debris can get trapped inside human lungs. Individuals that live in these areas can contract asthma, cancer, and heart disease due to the toxins that are emitted into the surrounding air.
Sierra Club Magazine exposed the realities of mining towns in their exclusive, The Cost of Coal. The coverage followed families in West Virginia, Michigan, and Nevada, who spoke of health problems, high mortality rates, and the fear of losing their homes when plants buy out the land. As told by Charles Bella from Blair, West Virginia,
“From ’94 up to ’99, it was so dusty around here you couldn’t hardly stand it. It got to the point you couldn’t sit on your porch. You’d even have to take the pets in the house. And then you had all the noise from the equipment–backup horns, all that–24 hours a day. That was right back there the top of this ridge. It was a manmade hell here.”
In contrast to coal, solar panels emit zero toxins, zero debris, and cost significantly less than conventional energy sources. For all the solar energy you don’t use, the energy gets sent back to the grid, and most energy companies will give you a rebate. If you’re worried about maintaining your energy system on your own, good news – solar panels require very minimal maintenance, and most companies provide you with a warranty.
Being one of the most sun-rich states in the U.S., Colorado has a huge advantage and we have already seen an increase in its use of solar energy. The Denver iJournal announced this past April that Denver will have its first ever community-owned solar garden located on the roof of the Hangar 2 building in the Lowry neighborhood. The solar garden allows customers to invest in solar energy without having to personally install them. The Denver iJournal states,
“Xcel Energy’s Denver County customers will be able to buy as few as one panel in the Denver/Lowry Solar Array, or as many as needed to completely power a home or business. Members will receive all of the same rebates and incentives of home-sited systems, and still reap the benefits directly on their monthly electric bills, according to company officials.”
Their team has been working hard all spring and summer to get the garden up and running. The project is a part of Xcel Energy’s Solar* Rewards Community Program, and is a direct outcome of the 2010 Colorado Community Solar Gardens Act.
Want to go solar? Read more about the process to benefit your community, the environment, and your health.