As we become more conscious about the earth and its resources, a discussion about our growing carbon footprint and measures to combat it have become increasingly relevant. The term ‘carbon footprint’ is used to account for the release of greenhouse gases, primarily carbon dioxide, into the atmosphere by a human activity. The major contributor towards carbon footprint is the use of fossil fuels. As the Australian population becomes more aware about the harmful effects of relying on fossil fuels, alternative sources of power are increasingly gaining popularity.
Solar power is one such energy source that provides one of the cleanest forms of energy. For every 1 megawatt-hour (MWh) of solar energy produced, 0.5 to 1 ton of carbon dioxide is offset. Thus, installing a solar power system has become increasingly popular amongst the Australian energy conscious population.
It is necessary to note that like any manufactured product, solar panels also do have a carbon footprint. The good news is that the solar industry has been working hard to lower this as much as possible – refining everything from materials to manufacturing.
As advancements are made in the field of solar technology, energy engineers have been improving the solar panel design to make them more efficient. The average power output of a standard 72-cell multi-silicon solar module was around 290 watts in 2010. In 2021, consumers can expect at least 390 watts at one-tenth of the price it was at just eleven years ago.
The manufacturing of solar panels is also being developed and made more efficient all the time, which has helped in lowering their carbon footprint even further. Put simply, the impact of electricity from solar panels has nowhere near the impact of electricity generated from gas or coal in terms of carbon emissions.
Although solar power systems emit about four times more carbon emissions than wind power and sits at the top of the list of the renewables carbon emissions list, it still only emits 5% of the emissions of coal without carbon capture and storage and 20% of the emissions of coal with CCS. The emissions produced by electricity from gas are still ten times higher than emissions produced by a kWh of solar electricity.
In addition to just installing solar panels on your roof, adding an energy storage system, like a solar battery allows you to make the most of your solar PV system by capturing electricity so you can use it for later use. For example, you can store the electricity your solar panels generate during the day and use it to power your home at night or during those times of the day when solar production may be lower due to weather or other conditions.
A solar battery is a great investment as it ensures that all your solar-generated energy is used where it’s made and does not have to travel anywhere. It also has the potential for the inverter to become ‘dual purpose’ – so it can act as a gateway to the battery as well as a one way ‘DC to AC’ converter.
Maximise your benefits of installing a solar power system
Unless a skilled and licensed solar installer does not ensure that the solar panels are fitted correctly, you won’t notice any difference in your electricity supply. Your system should switch seamlessly between electricity from your panels to your supply from the Power Grid.
Some tips to maximise on the benefits of installing a solar power system include using more electricity during the day (when your solar panels are most effective). Or, if you’re usually out during the day, you could use inbuilt timers on appliances like washing machines and dishwashers. These tips will help you lower your carbon footprint substantially as well.
Another smart move to maximise on your solar power system is to install a solar battery or energy storage system to store electricity generated during the day. There’s also the option of combining solar panels with other renewable technologies such as heat pumps and thermal panels which can help you save even more on your bills while simultaneously helping the environment also.
Solar power systems are relatively very easy to maintain. When it comes to maintenance, solar panels only need to be cleaned regularly. Solar panel cleaning kits are now fairly easily available or can be cleaned through a cleaning company.
Solar energy is therefore very easy to use and is completely renewable – there’ll always be sunlight. People and communities everywhere on the planet have the potential to generate their own clean electricity without relying on energy suppliers. And, most importantly, they can massively reduce their carbon footprint too.
Contact SunMate Solar to know more about reducing carbon emissions, energy efficiency and living a greener life. Our solar experts can help recommend the right system for your home to help you transition to cleaner energy.