What is Solar Energy?
Solar energy is the cleanest and most inexhaustible form of all known energy sources. Solar radiation (heat, light and other radiation emitted from the sun) is the primary energy source for almost all natural processes on earth.
The sun provides massive amounts of renewable energy that can be harnessed to provide us with heat and electricity, the two key requirements for running the modern world.
The amount of solar energy that falls on the Earth in just one hour is enough to power the world for a whole year.
Fossil fuels such as gasoline, diesel, LPG, coal and natural gas power much of the modern world. These fuels are burnt to release the energy contained in the carbon atomic bonds, but there are harmful byproducts, a major one being CO2. Increased CO2 levels in the atmosphere act like an insulating layer, trapping heat like a greenhouse, and causing the earth to gradually warm. This occurrence is commonly referred to as Global Warming, and some scientists claim is a key factor behind the Climate Change our planet Earth is experiencing.
Climate change is something that impacts all humans. The effects are many and varied but in general terms it brings more extreme and erratic weather patterns... Things that directly effect the life, safety and prosperity of the human race.
For more information on climate change, please visit these reputable sites:
Unfortunately strong lobbying of many governments around the world by those who profit from continued use of fossil fuels has resulted in a severe lack of action to reduce CO2 emissions and curb pollution by those with the responsibility and power to do so.
Fortunately there is a growing wave of awareness and action to implement technologies and practices to reduce CO2 emissions, and to move the world towards using a more sustainable energy mix. SUNx solar products are a part of that clean energy mix. SUNx products are an effective way for ordinary businesses and households to directly reduce their own carbon footprint and help become part of the solution!
How much CO2 can be saved?
By using renewable energy sources such a Solar Thermal, Solar PV, Wind, Hydro and Geothermal, reliance on fossil fuels can be minimised, thus directly reducing CO2 emissions.
On average, for every 1kWh of grid electricity from non-renewable energy sources, 0.537kg / 1.2lbs of CO2 is produced, and burning natural gas for water heating produces about 0.185g / 0.5lbs of CO2 for every kWh (not including production and delivery embodied carbon).
In the average household, water heating accounts for around 30% of CO2 emissions. Installing a solar water heater can provide up to 80% of a household's hot water heating energy needs, and reduce CO2 emissions by more than 20%. If offsetting electricity from non-renewable sources, installing an Apricus AP-30 solar collector can save nearly 1500kg / 3300lbs of CO2 each year. That is roughly equivalent to planting more than 650 trees, or each year driving 10,100 km or 6300 fewer miles in a mid sized modern petrol (gasoline) car.
A solar thermal collector is therefore an excellent way to reduce your household's carbon footprint.
The CO2 savings of a solar roof will depend on many factors, including:
If your electricity comes from a coal fired power station, each kWh you use will release around 1 g of equivalent carbon (various greenhouse gases converted into "equivalent carbon units" for comparison). However, if your original electricity comes from a hydro-electric power station, it is producing much less carbon equivalent emissions (less than 10 g).
A very important factor is the design of the system. If a system is wrongly designed (e.g. modules facing the north and 90degree inclination) the electricity output will be very low and therefore the system will not replace much conventional electricity.
So clearly the amount of CO2 you will be saving is very dependent on the source of the energy replaced. Next to CO2 savings, each m² of solar module installed will produce clean and sustainable home-made electricity.
1. Solar collector CO2 saving 1516 kg / 3335 lbs per year, calculated based on 2200kWh output per AP-30 collector per year and 0.689kg / 1.5lbs of CO2 per kWh grid electricity offset (Source).
2. Midsized modern car CO2 output of 150gm per km / 0.33lbs per mile (Source).
3. A medium growth coniferous tree, planted in an urban setting and allowed to grow for 10 years, considering survival factors, sequesters 10.54kg / 23.2 lbs of carbon or 39kg / 85lbs CO2 (Source).