As renewable energy goes, solar panels are one of the most popular options. Solar panels have a number of advantages: they’re relatively low maintenance, they don’t produce emissions, and they can generate power even on cloudy days.

One advantage that is particularly appealing to cost-conscious consumers is the fact that solar panels have a relatively short carbon payback period.

In other words, the amount of time it takes for solar panels to offset the carbon emissions associated with their manufacture and installation is relatively short.

It’s important to recognize this since greenhouse emissions are continuing to grow at an alarming rate.

Solar Panel Payback

Solar energy carbon footprint

A solar energy system generates 50 g of CO2 per kWh in the first few years of operation.

Electric power produced by a coal-powered plant has a carbon footprint 100 times greater than that of solar energy.

Related: Why Are Solar Panels Good For The Environment?

Solar energy payback

Solar panels reduce around 900 kg of CO2 each year, resulting in a carbon payback period of around 1.6 years.

This means that the solar panels will take 1.6 years to make up for the carbon emissions incurred in their production and installation every year spent using them.

Related: The Environmental Impact Of Solar Energy

How much co2 Do solar panels save?

Every kilowatt installed lowers your home’s carbon footprint by approximately 3,000 pounds each year. That means a reduction of over 15,000 pounds of CO2 every year for the average five-kilowatt residential system!

Solar Panel, Embodied Energy

We can compare the embodied carbon with carbon savings on a location-by-location basis if we know how much-embodied carbon is produced per kWh or per m2 of solar panels.

We’ve looked at several sources to get an idea of how much-embedded carbon there is in mono-crystalline PV. [IEA, 2015; Ecoinvent V3; M. Ito, 2011].

There are numerous additional resources, but the majority of them utilize the same background data, and there is a significant need for more information from solar system manufacturers.

The average carbon embedded in monocrystalline PV standards mentioned above was 2,560 kg CO2e per kWp.

The typical embodied carbon in those references for monocrystalline PV was 2,560 kg CO2e per kilowatt peak.

Because the carbon content of all goods varies considerably, it’s critical to keep track of any embodied carbon values.

Related: How To Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Solar Energy, Life Cycle

The average life expectancy of solar panels is about 30 years, although some manufacturers offer warranties for up to 40 years.

This means that over the course of their lifespan, solar panels will offset their carbon emissions several times over.

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Passionate about helping households transition to sustainable energy with helpful information and resources.

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