Carbon clock

Making a difference in the fight against climate change

Solarcentury is in business for a purpose: to make a meaningful difference in the fight against climate change. How do we measure our progress against this overriding objective?

We have designed a calculator which shows how much clean solar electricity is being generated by every solar installation Solarcentury has sold since we were formed in 1998. And with every unit of solar electricity generated, there is a corresponding amount of carbon that has NOT been burned and released into the atmosphere, carbon that would have been released if the power had been generated by burning fossil fuels.

Our solar installations have generated over 1 billion units (kWh) of solar electricity... and counting. That sounds like a lot! What does this mean?

If we consider that a typical average-sized home in the UK consumes 3,500 kWh of electricity every year, then 1 billion kWh means that the solar we have installed is currently meeting the energy needs of over a quarter of a million UK homes every year (285,700 to be precise!). Read more here..

 

How is it calculated?

  • Electricity generated 1,718,481,958 units
  • CO2 prevented 721,211,220 kg

To calculate the electricity that is being generated from systems we have sold, we have to take account of a number of factors. In particular, the size of the systems, where they are deployed around the world (and therefore the yield in that particular country) and how long they’ve been installed for because solar PV degrades very slightly over time.

The formula for electricity generation is as follows:

Energy generation = N*YS*(1-D*Y)
N = Nominal power (kWp sold by Solarcentury)
YS = National average yield (kWh/kWp)
D = Degradation factor
Y = Operating year

Every country’s grid differs in how much carbon is burned to produce electricity. Therefore, we need to know how much electricity has been produced by our solar PV systems in each of the countries in which we operate. This is multiplied by the ‘carbon factor’ for that country. We then subtract the amount of carbon that’s been used to build and install the solar system and transport it to sites. We then add in the carbon we are saving by planting wildflower meadows at our solar farms. (Unimproved grassland and wildflower meadows store carbon year on year.)

The formula behind prevented CO2 is as follows:

Kg of CO2 prevented = (G*CEF) – ORG CO2 – SUPP CO2 + M
G = Energy generation
CEF = Country Carbon Emission Factor for electricity
ORG CO2 emissions: Emissions from freight
SUPP CO2 emissions: CO2 emissions of suppliers
M = CO2 absorption of planted meadows

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