Benefits of solar energy

The solar energy does not make any noise, does not pollute and allows to obtain a hot fluid that can be used as sanitary hot water, for heating, or for different industrial tasks. The environmental benefits that derive from the installation of photovoltaic systems can be expressed in terms of avoided emissions: the emissions that would have been produced for the generation of an equal quantity of electric power with thermoelectric systems can be calculated.
For example it was estimated that a family of four people consumes around 7.7 kWh a day with an electric water heater. In Italy, to produce an electric kWh, thermoelectric plants release into the atmosphere around 0.58 kg of carbon dioxide, one of the main greenhouse effect gases. Therefore, for an electric water heater 4.5 kg of CO2 are produced on average every day. With hybrid solar-gas plants, i.e. solar plants integrated with gas boilers, that ensure hot water all year long, a four-members family in Rome can save up to 0.69 kg of CO2 a day.
Therefore solar energy could significantly reduce the use of fossil fuels, since it would be an electric energy source on a large scale, in particular in Italy, where irradiation levels are high.
Directly converting the sun into electric energy is a choice that can be extremely advantageous not only in urban settlements, but also in marginalized and remote areas, especially in the Third World. In those areas the combination of photovoltaic systems with other existing renewable sources can bring electric energy to the most isolated villages and communities, to guarantee lighting, telecommunications, pumps, but also to desalinate seawater and brackish water, to preserve fishing and agricultural products, and to refrigerate drugs and vaccines.

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