Carbon Footprint (CO2) Balance of Solar Panels

· PV Industry News,About Solar Panels

Solar carbon footprints are a prominent topic in the realm of renewable energy as we seek to make the earth greener. What exactly is the carbon footprint? The carbon footprint is the quantity of carbon dioxide produced during the solar panel manufacturing process. Even if solar energy cuts carbon emissions in thousands of houses every day, the manufacturing of solar panels has a significant environmental impact.

The carbon footprints of solar panels and the quantity of CO2 saved by solar energy will be contrasted in this article, as well as the benefits of using solar panels to lower carbon footprint.


1. Solar panels' carbon footprint
2. How much CO2 is saved when solar panels are used?
3. Change to solar energy to lower your carbon footprint

what is carbon footprint

Solar panels' carbon footprint

Although solar panels have a carbon footprint, their life-cycle emissions are approximately 12 times lower than those of natural gas and 20 times lower than those of coal. Furthermore, unlike burning fossil fuels, there is a considerable chance to dramatically reduce the carbon footprint of solar panels.

Some argue that the production and construction of wind, solar, and nuclear power plants has "hidden" carbon footprints. These carbon debts, as well as the corresponding energy debts, must be "paid off" for these alternative energy sources to be economically viable and environmentally beneficial.

According to the European Commission's Product Environmental Footprint methodology, the upstream process generates between 80% and more than 95% of the emissions in the life cycle of a PV power plant, including the production of silicon materials, wafers, batteries, the manufacture of modules, and the manufacture of balance of systems (BoS) such as inverters, totaling about 22 grams of carbon emissions per kilowatt-hour. Emissions from the PV plant's later operation, such as O&M, account for 5-20% of total emissions.

Many contemporary commercial solar panels have a high environmental cost. The energy-intensive processes like as silicon manufacture, ingot growth, and wafer cutting contribute to the comparatively large carbon footprint of crystalline silicon modules. As a result, manufacturing processes have relocated away from less carbon-intensive markets and toward other carbon-rich and less-expensive countries and regions.

Photovoltaic (PV) power facilities, too, have a carbon footprint. The carbon footprint of thin film PV plants ranges from around 12 grams per kWh to a much higher range for crystalline silicon PV plants, and in recent years, with process innovations and technological advances, the carbon emissions of crystalline silicon power generation have decreased from 33-50 grams per Kwh ten years ago to around 24 grams per Kwh today.

carbon footprint

How much CO2 is saved when solar panels are used?

When fossil fuels are used to generate power, many of these hazardous greenhouse gases are released into the environment. However, by increasing the use of solar energy and substituting it for fossil fuels, we can reduce these emissions and help to halt climate change. According to the NREL, using solar panels that are predicted to last 28 years can reduce emissions by more than 100 tons. This reduction in greenhouse gas emissions may help to minimize the consequences of global warming over time.

Using a solar panel produces approximately 50g of CO2 per kilowatt-hour for the first several years. A solar panel's carbon footprint is approximately 20 times smaller than that of a coal-powered electrical source. As a result, installing solar panels in your home will reduce your carbon footprint. To become carbon neutral and pay off your carbon debt, you must install solar panels for three years. After three years of use, your overall carbon footprint will be reduced because the system will continue to run at a carbon neutral level for the balance of its useful life.

A conservative forecast assumes that gas power plants, which are the most common and frequently used to 'top-up' supplies to fulfill demand at any given time, will be replaced by solar energy. According to a recent National Grid PLC evaluation, these major commercial power plants currently emit 392g CO2 per kWh.

Based on this conservative calculation, we can conclude that a typical household solar PV system in southern Britain lowers CO2 emissions by around 1.2 tonnes per year only through power generation.

Solar panels must address their potential environmental disadvantages in order to be truly sustainable energy sources. However, with careful planning and implementation, the benefits of solar energy much outweigh the negatives.

Solar power can help to accelerate the transition to renewable energy sources and provide a more sustainable future for future generations.

solar panels

Change to solar energy to lower your carbon footprint

A 10 kW solar roof typically reduces carbon emissions by approximately 4 tons per year. This translates to more than 100 trees planted each year. Larger installations may have ten times the impact. In actuality, even a single household solar installation has an impact on the ecology.

Perhaps it's time to switch to solar energy now that you're fully informed of its carbon footprint. The burning of fossil fuels, particularly coal, is the primary global source of greenhouse gases. When you choose green energy, you immediately offset a portion of your carbon footprint. As a result, the usage of solar panels is becoming increasingly popular and prevalent nowadays. Installing solar panels is a terrific way to save money while also protecting the environment.

carbon footprint for individual

Solar panels not only reduce the environmental impact of using fossil fuels, but they also provide a consistent supply of renewable energy that can be used to power practically any device or gadget.

Solar panels may power household appliances, home heating and cooling systems, and even electric car charging stations. If properly placed and maintained, solar panels can provide energy for many years with no environmental impact.

It is evident that investing in solar panels could be an excellent way to reduce one's carbon footprint while maintaining access to modern energy sources. We can help protect the environment for future generations by investing in clean, renewable energy sources. Maysun is an excellent alternative if you want to install energy-saving, ecologically friendly, high-efficiency, and long-lasting solar panels!

solar panels
black frame solar panels

When selecting how much electricity to use, everyone should consider their particular environmental impact, and solar panels are an ideal way to do so without foregoing modern amenities.

Since 2008, Maysun Solar has specialized on developing high-quality solar modules. Choose from our extensive selection of half-cut, MBB, IBC, and Shingled solar panels in full black, black frame, silver, and glass-glass. These panels provide outstanding performance as well as beautiful designs that mix in with any building. Maysun Solar has effectively created offices, warehouses, and long-term relationships with great installers across the globe! Please contact us for the most recent module quotations or for other PV-related questions. We are delighted to help you.


Abundance. (2018, May 23). How much Carbon Dioxide do solar panels save? - Abundance Blog. Medium.

Lawrence, B. (2021). Carbon footprint of solar panel manufacturing. Cool Effect.

Morgan, S., & Wade, A. (2016). Carbon footprint of solar panels under microscope.

Solar panels and their effect on the environment -- Environmental protection.

Solar panels have a carbon emissions problem. (n.d.). Michigan Capitol Confidential.

Zimmermann, N. (2021, January 6). How many solar panels do we need to save the climate?

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