Yardley Voice – Going Green Solar Column – December 2013
by Mark Bortman
A lump of coal. What a lousy thing to get for Christmas. All kids know that they had better stay off of Santa’s “Naughty” list or that is what they are going to end up with in their stocking.
What kids might not know, however, is how bad that coal really is and what it is doing to the world that they are growing into. Coal leaves behind a long trail of pollution. Mountaintops are removed and acres of forest and wilderness are stripped to get the coal.
There is pollution generated to transport the coal to the power plant. Tons of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, small particles and hydrocarbons are released in the atmosphere when it is burned. Piles of ash and sludge are left over from the combustion. These end up leaching pollutants in the soil and water.
Coal’s negative impact to our environment and our health will be felt not only now by future generations, too. Unfortunately, about half of the electricity we use in Pennsylvania comes from burning coal.
Renewable energy sources such as solar panels, on the other hand, are everything that coal is not. There is no mining, no pollution or harmful emissions, no toxic residue. Even better, the energy from the sun and wind is unlimited.
Moreover, once solar panels are installed, they cost nothing to run. They just keep producing electricity – and savings on your electric bill month after month.
Now that is something I’d like to see in my stocking.