Environmental Impact of a Single Solar Home

August 22, 2018

Does the environmental impact of a single solar home really make that big of a difference?

Solar panels are a trend that is growing in popularity for homeowners.

solar inverter with monitoring antenna

Monitoring the environmental impact of a solar home.

Homeowners who go solar are provided with monitoring systems.

These monitoring systems allow them to track their energy production. SolarEdge, a solar monitoring system that provides metrics that shows the environmental impact of that same amount of energy. Their metrics are pounds of carbon emissions saved and ‘equivalent trees planted’. The latter is an estimate of how much oxygen is produced when that much CO2 is saved.*

*The Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator uses the AVoided Emissions and geneRation Tool (AVERT) U.S. national weighted average CO2 marginal emission rate to convert reductions of kilowatt-hours into avoided units of carbon dioxide emissions.  EPA.gov

We use an average sized system to calculate the environmental impact of a single solar home.

The average size of a residential solar panel systems installed in the US is 5 kilowatts. For this article, we will use a panel system installed in 2016 that is 5.2kW.

This system was installed in Colorado, in the southern Denver-metro area by EcoMark Solar.

The expected life expectancy of solar panels is 50 years, and the energy production is normally warrantied by the manufacturer for 25 years. We will use the 50 year estimated life for these calculations as well.

The real impact of a solar home on the environment.

At the one-year mark, this system had produced 7.94 megawatts of power saving 12,297 lbs (over 6 tons) of CO2 emissions. Multiply that by 50 years and that means: the average solar home will save over 300 tons of CO2 emissions over its lifetime.

What is the real impact?

The equivalent trees planted is 309.73 at the one year mark, equating to about 6 acres of forest. A healthy forest has roughly 50 trees per square acre. This means that over a 50 year mark, that equates to 300 acres of forest.

The average solar house prevents 300 tons of pollution from getting into our breathable air. This will have cascading positive benefits for the environment every year for decades to come.

Each and every solar house makes a significant environmental impact. This will only get better and better as more houses go solar and as the solar industry itself becomes more and more prevalent.

To begin your path to energy freedom, positive environmental impact and to plant your own ‘solar forest’, get a quote for what solar can do for your home today.