Individuals can make all kinds of choices and changes to reduce their carbon footprint. Solar power is an excellent choice for homeowners because it has an immediate and measurable effect, in the form of your power bills. But what does it actually do for the environment?
Consider this: coal power is still the second-most common form of electrical generation on average across the country's many utility providers, and might be the primary source for yours. If you don't have solar, the energy your home uses has a big fat smokestack at the other end of the wires. All of that is measured in greenhouse gases by the EPA.
Let's do some quick math. Just how much dirty air do coal plants produce? Over 1230 million metric tons every year. How big is one ton of air? Somewhere between 24,000-27,000 cubic feet, which is a modest 2-story single-family home. The average residential solar array offsets 6-7 metric tons every year, so that's your house plus a few of your neighbors. You're cleaning up the 'hood by going solar!
Being green is all relative. Realistically, you probably can't eliminate your carbon footprint entirely, and one home solar array isn't going to fix our fossil fuel problem. But every decision is worth something, and if everyone does a little something extra we can make big changes. There's little debate that you're making a good choice for our collective future on the planet by going solar.