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Don't Cut Down Trees for Solar Panels

I have seen trees cut down for the sake of solar panels. While I am not against trimming a branch here and there, I am against the complete removal of trees to improve solar exposure.

I have seen trees cut down for the sake of solar panels. While I am not against trimming a branch here and there, I am against the complete removal of trees to improve solar exposure. My opinion is not solely formed based on my 'tree hugging' tendencies but for more pragmatic reasons.

I used to live on the third floor of a three-story brick apartment building. My windows looked out on an old abandoned house with maple trees. The trees grew close to the building so I had a nice leafy view. Then, one day I came home and the trees were gone.

I used to cool the whole apartment in the summer with a medium sized air conditioning unit that I mounted in the living room window. After the trees were removed, I had to move the air conditioner into the bedroom and keep the door closed in order to keep myself from being char broiled while I slept. The remainder of the apartment was a balmy 110F+ for the rest of the summer and my electricity bills soared to new heights as my air conditioner tried to keep up.

My apartment was only 550 square feet, but imagine this scenario in full scale at your own home or business. It is possible that the electricity output of your new solar panels will not be able to match your increased air conditioning electricity usage that results from eliminating shade. This is an important consideration when estimating pay back period.

Have you made any green changes to your home or business recently? Let's start a discussion about real measured savings.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Maura Racamato September 20, 2011 at 11:34 AM
good article. On the hottest days of the summer, I ran my downstairs window ac , I also hung my laundry outside to dry. My electric bill actually went down that month! I have noticed my bill going down by $30 or more. It adds up.
Melanie Head September 23, 2011 at 03:49 PM
Thanks for your feedback, Maura. I stopped using the heating element in the dishwasher and let the dishes air dry. My dishwasher has a 1250 watt element that runs for about half an hour. Completely unnecessary.
J P December 20, 2012 at 11:21 PM
They just cut down acres of forested land across the street from my house to put up a solar farm. This has nothing to do with the environment. The landowner gets paid 3 ways-for the electricity (which the power co. is forced by the state to pay a higher rate), for energy credits (power companies can buy these credits from the landowner to help them comply with the law), and a 30% tax credit. And guess who really is paying for all this??? You and me in our electric bill and taxes. They wrap this all up with a 'green' wrapper and sell it as good for the environment. The forest is taking the same amount of CO2 out of the air that the solar panels eliminate. Therefore its a wash and you have now lost the forest.
Melanie Head December 22, 2012 at 08:32 PM
Thanks for your comments JP. Yes, there are economic benefits to those who can pay for solar farm. It's just too bad that they couldn't have found a brownfield or similar site to put up the panels instead of a forested lot. My post was more targeted to homeowners, but your comments are totally valid as well.

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