We know that a solar power system can reduce approximately 8.5 tons of CO2 per household, per year, and that this is equal to taking three cars off of the road.
However some critics argue that solar power has a hidden carbon footprint, due to it’s manufacture and construction.
Research published by CarbonFootprint.Org suggests that the carbon footprint of solar is many times lower than coal or gas with carbon capture and storage (CCS).
This remains true after accounting for carbon emissions during manufacture, construction and fuel supply.
One Unit Of Energy Invested In Solar Power Yields Twenty Five Units Of Electricity
This research indicates that 4% of the energy generated by solar panels is offset by the energy needed to build the panels and the plant that produces the solar panels.
This is equivalent to saying that one unit of energy invested in solar power yields twenty five units of electricity.
This is compared to 5% for nuclear and 11% for coal.
Overall the footprint of solar is much lower than coal and gas with CCS, as well as hydro or bioenergy.
And these figures are expected to improve over time as increasingly less energy will be required to produce solar modules, due to technological progress and a shift towards less energy-intensive technology variants.
Solar Emissions Are Much Lower
The study finds each kilowatt hour of electricity generated over the lifetime of a solar power system has an emissions footprint of 6 grammes of CO2 equivalent (gCO2e/kWh).
In contrast to other sources that have relatively high greenhouse gas emissions:
- gas CCS (78g)
- hydro (97g)
- bioenergy (98g)
- coal CCS (109g)
The best solar technology in the sunniest location has a footprint of 3gCO2/kWh, some seven times lower than the worst solar technology in the worst location (21gCO2/kWh).
Even at this top end, however, solar’s carbon footprint is very low compared to other sources.
In short the hidden CO2 emissions due to building solar panels is very low, in comparison with the savings from avoiding fossil fuels.
Go Solar And Reduce Your Carbon Footprint As Well As Your Energy Bill
There has never been a better time to go solar and cut your carbon footprint as well as reducing your energy bills.
Request a quick quote and let’s talk about going solar and cutting your carbon footprint as well as your energy bill.