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How Much CO2 Do Solar Panels Save?


Even with all of the financial benefits that a custom designed residential solar electric system provides, many of the homeowners that we speak with to are most interested in the environmental benefits of solar. It is no secret that installing solar panels on your roof or property will reduce your carbon footprint, but exactly how much carbon dioxide will you be saving from the atmosphere by utilizing solar energy in your home?

Understanding Solar Carbon Savings

The first thing to understand about the carbon savings of solar energy is that it will be different for each household. No two homes are exactly alike in their sun-facing orientation or their household energy usage. This is exactly why trusting a local solar installation contractor is so essential! Designing the best solar photovoltaic (PV) system for your home takes a nuanced approach, with attention to detail.

Each kilowatt hour (kWh) that your solar PV system produces is a reduction in the carbon emissions of a single kWh of electricity produced by your local power utility. Utility companies use multiple methods to create electricity, some less environmentally friendly than others. The primary source of electricity generation is natural gas, which is still a fossil fuel but does have much lower carbon emissions than coal.

Every 1 kWh of electricity produced accounts for 0.846 lbs of carbon.

Solar Power vs. Carbon Emissions

Let’s do some math.Perhaps you have a home that gets ample sunshine throughout the year, and you want to completely eliminate your home’s daytime electricity usage. An average residential solar system is 9 kW and would produce about 10,000 kWh in a year. If you multiply those renewable, carbon-free kilowatt hours you get:

10,000kWh X 0.846 = 8,460 lbs of CO2

8,460 lbs of CO2 is equivalent to the carbon emissions of 432 gallons of gas, which would be like taking your car off the road for almost an entire year!

Estimate Your Own CO2 Emissions Savings

If you are curious what kind of impact your solar energy is having on the environment, you can use your own annual kWh solar generation and the lbs of CO2 to see what amount of carbon offsetting your system is responsible for. The above mentioned 8,460 lbs of CO2 comes in at reducing the carbon emissions of 489,315 smartphones charged in a year, or 157 propane cylinders used for home barbeques.

Looking at the Big Picture

We take pride in helping homeowners and business owners reduce their carbon emissions through custom solar installation. Lets look at some examples.

30,000,000 kWh X 0.846 = 25,380,000 lbs of CO2 a year

That’s equivalent to saving:

  • 190,356 tree seedlings grown for 10 years

  • 1,295,395 gallons of gas

  • 437,276 light bulbs switched to LED

  • 26,653 oil barrels

If you consider the estimated lifespan of a solar system being 30+ years, our 4,000 systems to date equals…

900,000,000 kWh x 0.846 = 761,400,000 lbs of CO2 over 30 years

That’s equivalent to saving:

  • 5,710,687 tree seedlings grown for 10 years

  • 38,861,847 gallons of gas

  • 13,118,290 light bulbs switched to LED

  • 799,594 oil barrels

Ready to Start Reducing Your Carbon Emissions?

As we mentioned, trusting a local solar installation contractor will make all the difference when it comes time for you and your family to make the switch to solar energy. When you partner with Melbourne based Cosmic Solar, we will make sure your solar PV system is designed with your energy goals in mind.


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