We are all well aware that solar panels offer a much more environmentally friendly solution to energy production, but how many of us have actually considered our solar panel carbon emissions?
Over the last few years, an emphasis has been put on the the various financial benefits that solar panels offer, whilst the environmental impact of the technology has been left rather unconsidered. Whilst using solar panels does mean reducing your footprint, the solar panel carbon emissions involved in production are still a problem being worked on.
SMA‘s most recent initiative is to ensure that the manufacture of its Sunny Boy inverters is one of the most eco-friendly around. The company’s German factory uses the latest energy efficiency measures with renewable energy sources.
The Solar Works 1 factory took 18 months to complete, and boasts 18,000 square metres of floor space. It produces 4,000 inverters every day. The building envelope meets the German Low Energy Building Standard, and the factory is designed so as to use as much natural light as possible and it uses a smart ventilation system to cool it down.
Working on the solar panel carbon emissions, SMA’s factory is powered by a 1MW onsite solar PV system as well as a combined heat and power plant which produces carbon neutral heat and power from biogas. Additional heating is supplied by a nearby waste incineration plant, and more renewable energy is harnessed to cover the complete power consumption.
SMA has truly tested the factory’s zero carbon credentials, and asked independent auditors CICS to examine the factory’s energy use. The auditors verified that within the factory gates the manufacturing methods create zero carbon emissions, but this does neglect to take into account the shipping of the units from the factory to their final destinations.
A move like this means only great things for the energy market as companies take greater responsibility for their effect on the wider environment. Hopefully such bold actions will prompt the rest of us, too, to really think about the carbon emissions involved in the delivery of products and services.tagscarbon emissionssmasolar panelssolar PV