The Benefits of Trading Coal for Solar Energy: Saving Lives and Money

Key Takeaways:

  • Transitioning from coal to solar power could save thousands of lives per year in the US due to reduced air pollution-related health issues, according to a study conducted by Michigan Tech researchers.
  • The study calculates approximately 52,000 lives could be spared if the US moved from coal to solar photovoltaic (PV) power, at an investment of $1.1 million per life. This makes the shift to solar a beneficial financial move for the country.
  • Aside from saving lives, the transition to solar power is financially lucrative, as electricity produced through this means generates profit according to contributing author, Joshua Pearce.
  • Solar power has become a viable alternative to coal, thanks to reduced costs and advancements in supporting technologies such as natural gas plants, other renewable sources, and energy storage.
  • Globally, about seven million people die annually due to air pollution. Transitioning from coal could significantly lower this number and improve air quality overall.

Researchers conducted a study showcasing the potential benefits of transitioning from coal to solar power – demonstrating that this change could save both lives and money in America.

The Urgency of Moving Away from Coal

Joshua Pearce, the contributing author of the study and an associate professor of materials science and electrical engineering at Michigan Technological University, argues for the urgent need to cease coal use in the US.

Annually, the premature death of tens of thousands of Americans is linked to air pollution-related health problems. This alarming figure encouraged the researchers at Michigan Tech to calculate the human implications of continuing to burn coal, along with the potential benefits of a shift towards solar power.

A Closer Look at the Numbers

Their study entailed an examination of regional electricity costs, as well as a tally of US deaths per kilowatt hour each year derived from both coal and solar power. The team utilized data from the U.S. Department of Energy to compute the probable return on investment of solar installations.

The findings revealed that if the US transitioned from coal to solar photovoltaic (PV) power, an approximate 52,000 lives would be spared at an investment of $1.1 million per life. Furthermore, by investing $1.5 trillion in the solar power sector to outphase coal, researchers concluded it would be a beneficial financial move for the country.

Additional Perks of Going Solar

“Switching from coal to solar not only saves lives but has economic value because electricity produced by solar power generates profit,” said Pearce. He holds a view that the lives saved through this transition are an additional perk to the financial gains that solar energy production brings.

Pearce also asserts that solar power is now a viable, upgraded alternative to coal, thanks to the radical reduction in costs and the emergence of supporting technologies, such as natural gas plants, other renewable sources, and energy storage. Now, he says, we cannot afford to resist solar power’s advancement in the same way that computer companies cannot oppose new tech designed to enhance and expedite their operations.

A Step Towards Cleaner Air

Pearce points out that globally, around seven million people die each year due to air pollution, so doing away with coal could significantly reduce this tally. This aligns with the assertions of the researchers, who believe that ruling out solar energy alternatives would be akin to tech companies resisting innovations that could make their products increasingly efficient and swift.

This insightful study was brought to public attention when it was published in Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews.

Further Reading:

For expanded details on solar power technology, the U.S. Department of Energy offers insightful resources here.

Diana Wells

Hello, wonderful readers! I'm Diana Wells, a writer, dedicated mother of two, and a passionate blogger with an emphasis on life’s most intricate journeys. Amidst the chaos of daily life and parenting, I've found solace and purpose in penning down experiences, particularly in the realms of health and mental wellbeing.Being a mother has not just blessed me with joy, but it has also opened my eyes to the complexities of mental health. From postpartum challenges to the daily stresses that many of us face, I understand the importance of nurturing our minds alongside our bodies.My writings aim to shed light on these often overlooked aspects of health. Whether you're seeking guidance, a sense of community, or simply looking to understand more about mental health, I'm here to provide a fresh, empathetic perspective. Let's navigate the winding paths of our minds together, finding strength, understanding, and hope in each other's stories.Thank you for allowing me to share my passion with you. Let's prioritize our mental wellbeing and celebrate the small victories along the way!
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