Can Solar Power Improve Public Health?

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It’s estimated that 609,000 asthma attacks are caused every year by fossil fuel energy production.

The two main arguments that are often cited in favor of Los Angeles and Orange County solar power are economic and environmental. By going solar, residents and businesses can reduce and potentially eliminate their electricity bills. In doing so, people also help improve the planet’s climate by decreasing carbon dioxide emissions.

Those two reasons alone are enough to justify widespread adoption of solar power for electrical generation, but something that often goes unmentioned is the way that solar technology can help boost public health.

The reasoning is simple. Burning fossil fuels not only produces carbon dioxide but other forms of air pollution that can cause serious respiratory illnesses in children, adults and seniors. Even natural gas, which burns much cleaner than coal, still releases toxins into the air that can exacerbate health conditions such as asthma and obstructive pulmonary disease. According to Scientific American, particulates emitted from fossil fuel power production is estimated to cause 59,000 cases of acute bronchitis and 603,000 asthma attacks annually.

While this is a problem in many communities spread throughout the U.S., EarthTechling, a clean technology news site, points out that seven of the ten worst counties in the nation in terms of air pollution are located in California. Much of this air pollution comes from the production of electricity, and could be eliminated through greater reliance on solar power.

When considering the merits of having a rooftop PV system installed on your home or business, along with the environmental and financial advantages, keep in mind that you’ll also be contributing to improved public health.