The Upstream Blog

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Solar Solutions: What Are the Health & Environmental Benefits of Going Solar?

Jul 31, 2020 9:52:01 AM

Many businesses and homeowners in Australia are choosing to go solar at a faster rate than ever before in Australia, with the choice becoming even more popular due to the introduction of power purchase agreements.

In Australia there are now a number of different options which helps businesses and individuals go solar without having to put any upfront investment.

Although cutting power costs is one of the main factors for businesses to consider the switch, there is more to solar than just savings. There are a number of rebates, grants and incentives that have contributed to the popularity of solar across the country.

But what other benefits does solar energy have to offer when it comes to the health of employees or occupants of premises going solar? And how can solar panels positively impact and protect the environment by reducing the reliance on fossil fuels?

Let’s look at the benefits.

The environmental benefits

Solar energy provides clean, green and renewable power from the sun which benefits the environment as an alternative to fossil fuels. This reduces the carbon footprint of any building with panels installed and the benefits extend to the environment with an ongoing reduction of greenhouse gases around the globe. It’s not just about the savings.

The Clean Energy Council tell us that in 2019 renewable energy was responsible for 24 per cent of Australia’s total electricity generation in 2019, up 2.7 percentage points on 2018. Of this, rooftop solar contributed 22.3% and large scale solar, 9.3%.

Further, there were 287,504 rooftop solar installations in 2019, which was the most installs since 2012 and the third-highest number ever.

Fossil fuels are still the largest energy contributor in Australia at 76%, but this is down from 86% just 4 years ago. 

A new report, How to Retire Early: Making Accelerated Coal Phase-Out Feasible and Just, indicates that it is already cheaper to build new renewable energy capacity including battery storage than to continue operating 39% of the world’s existing coal capacity. 

Sadly, they expect uncompetitive coal plants worldwide will make up a growing proportion of this - going from 60% in 2022 and to 73% in 2025. The opportunity to shift away from fossil fuels is enormous. 

Here in Australia, investment in both large scale and rooftop solar is growing too. Vehicles like power purchase agreements are becoming more accessible to homeowners and businesses which make the switch to solar a lot easier. 


Greenhouse gas emissions

Many Australian companies are choosing to show their commitment to zero carbon emissions to their stakeholders, customers, and employees. NABERS ratings are a great way to prove they are having an impact. By going solar instead of using fossil fuels, this can dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, particularly carbon dioxide (CO2).

Greenhouse gases are produced when fossil fuels are burned, and they contribute to climate change and global warming, which in turn results in serious environmental and public health issues such as extreme weather events, rising sea levels, and ecosystem disturbances.

Some solar PPA providers are helping businesses and homeowners make the change and go solar without any upfront investment. Upstream Energy is taking up the challenge to help reduce the demand for fossil fuels, limit greenhouse gas emissions, and shrink carbon footprints.

“We have designed our offering from the ground up to make it easier for businesses, organisations and homeowners to switch to clean energy.” says Tim Johnson, CMO at Upstream Energy.  Individual Australians can access emissions reduction equal to planting hundreds of trees every year, and can eliminate the same amount of carbon emissions that would result from burning over 2,000 kilograms of coal each year.


Respiratory and cardio health issues

Less air pollutants means a healthier community, which is one of the most important benefits of solar energy. Studies by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) found that with more solar adoption, a considerable reduction in the levels of nitrous oxides, sulfur dioxide, and particulate matter emissions can be seen, and since all of these can cause health problems, we can expect to see less cases of chronic bronchitis, respiratory and cardiovascular problems, and lost workdays related to health issues in the Australian community.

The benefits of solar energy are numerous, from savings on electricity bills to health and environmental benefits. If you would like to go solar today without any upfront investment, talk to our team today about our tailored solar power purchase agreements for business and residential buildings across Australia and see how much you can save by going solar.

Tim Johnson
Written by Tim Johnson

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