We check that our suppliers have considered recyclability when we purchase solar modules for our customers’ projects. We use only modules with silicon solar cells; these are far more environmentally friends than thin film cells since they have no heavy metals.
Tier 1 solar modules typically produce energy for 30+ years. At their end-of-life, they can be recycled by speciality recycling companies such as PV Cycle and others. Modules made from silicon solar cells are made mostly of silicon, glass, and aluminum; these components are separated for re-use during the recycling process.
Solar panels are warranted by manufacturers to last 25 years. Considering the panels themselves have no moving parts, they can continue producing enough energy to cover operating costs for up to 35 years or more. Inverters, the equipment that changes the DC power produced by the solar system into the AC power that our appliances and buildings use, have a lifespan of about 15-20 years. After that point, it is expected that new inverters will be installed to take advantage of the remaining life of the panels.
The amount of CO2 emissions avoided is contingent upon a system’s geographic location, the size and type (ground mount, rooftop, canopy, etc.). Bearing those factors in mind, the production from a 500 kW DC project located on the East Coast of North America can equate to the avoidance of about 473 tons of carbon dioxide a year. This equates to the greenhouse gas emissions of 90 passenger vehicles driven over the course of one year. A system of the same size in Southwest North America can produce enough energy to equate to the avoidance of 670 tons of carbon dioxide a year.
The EPA has created a very effective CO2 avoidance calculator tool for the general public: https://www.epa.gov/energy/greenhouse-gas-equivalencies-calculator
To give recommendations on the different renewable and conservation technologies, we initially test them out on our own headquarters office. We have concluded the following advantages of solar:
1) Because it has no moving parts and the modules last at least 25 years, it is one of the most cost-effective renewable sources for generating energy.
2) Solar PV systems can often be easily expanded as your energy needs change, they require little to no maintenance, and they are durable in various weather conditions.
3) Solar-powered buildings can rely less on traditional electricity suppliers and fossil fuels to provide them with energy. Solar PV is good for the environment and a safe way to provide your facility with energy. The solar arrays at our headquarters are the main contributor to our renewable energy goals to achieve Net-Zero energy results.
We use only top-tier equipment from reputable manufacturers who have the ability to stand behind their equipment warranties over the life of the systems. We do not chase lowest up-front cost at the expense of long-term performance.
We focus primarily on small- to mid-size commercial projects (500 kW-1 MW) and utility scale projects (1 MW+). We also have experience aggregating multiple smaller systems relating to a single landowner or power off-taker into a single portfolio to achieve reasonable economies of scale.