How Long Does It Take for Solar Panels To Be Carbon Positive?

A common point raised in renewable energy discussions is that the environmental cost of producing items such as solar panels is high. We asked Markus Lambert, National Solar Manager for LG Energy for his response.

A common point raised in renewable energy discussions is that the environmental cost of producing items such as solar panels is high. After all they are made from non-renewable resources and fossil fuels.

Common objection: “The environmental costs to produce solar panels are more than you’ll ever save…”

We asked Markus Lambert, General Manager Solar & Energy for LG Energy, for his response.

Craig Bailey (Solar Trust Centre): One of the common responses we see on Facebook when discussing solar and renewables, are people stating objections such as, “It costs more in fossil fuels to build the solar panels and systems than you’ll ever save over the life of the system.”

Markus Lambert (LG Energy): You’re raising the issue of the true carbon neutralness on the solar panel. Now, if a solar panel is of a very poor quality, and unfortunately in Australia, we have solar panels coming in attracting a rebate, which as it’s buy rule has that this panel has to achieve clean energy for 15 years. But unfortunately, in many cases, the very, very, cheap stuff fails within two or three years and the customers have a very poor experience.

Craig: How does the carbon footprint works for Solar Panels?

Markus: The solar product by the time it’s been made, shipped to Australia, put by the installer on the back of the car and installed on your roof – the solar system has caused a certain amount of CO2 to produce and for most panels in Australia it looks at about a two to two-and-a-half-year payback to actually get into a CO2-positive position. I’ll explain that in a second, how it works. But that means if the panel dies after year three, you’ve hardly made a difference in the CO2. So, buying very cheap solar is not going to help the CO2 abatement.

Craig: So how can one get the best CO2 abatement and true renewable energy outcome?

Markus: If you buy a high-quality high-efficient panel – eg if I can get out of the same panel 320 watt than the 250 watt, that means I use the same amount of aluminium, I use the same amount of glass, but I actually overall generate more electricity out of that panel. So the higher efficient the panel, the lower, what is called the CO2 footprint.

Craig: How does the CO2 calculation works?

Markus: Now, what you’ve got to do in your calculation, you’ve got to count what it costs to get the aluminium and have that generated, and then also the manufacturing of the panel, and the making of the glass, and certain calculations are available that you know what this manufacturing process normally will take in energy. So the less energy intensive your manufacturing process, the better the CO2 abatement. LG, actually have solar panels on the top of the solar factory. So if one is using renewable energy to make the panels, naturally that reduces the CO2 footprint of the panel in the first place.

Craig: So how long does it take for a panel to be truly carbon neutral ?

Markus: So, the calculation, for example, for the LG NeON2 is that you’re looking at about a 1.4-year payback in CO2 in a place like Perth or Brisbane in Australia. In Sydney, because it generates a little bit less electricity in Sydney than in Perth, you’re probably looking at 1.5 to 1.6 years. After that, the panel is generating genuine carbon-positive electricity. But you would look at most panels of the cheaper variety between around the two-year plus mark, of the high-efficient ones, about a year-and-a-half or a bit less.

Thank you to Markus for his responses.

Solar panels: Two years to carbon positive

Summary: If you install high quality, high-efficiency solar panels they have a 2 year CO2 payback (possibly less). ie electricity they produce after the 2 year mark is fully carbon positive.

“Put another way: it takes around 2 years for you to pay back the environmental cost of all the materials and production and transport of the solar panels. After 2 years you are effectively generating electricity free from any environmental cost.”

Product mentioned: Markus referred to the LG NeON2 Solar panel

Originally posted on Solar Trust Centre: https://solartrustcentre.com.au/long-take-solar-carbon-positive/

What Questions Should Sydney Homeowners Ask Before Buying Solar Panels?

Our typical customer in the Sydney area comes to us with a million questions about our solar panels and our installation processes. Here are a few essential questions you should ask your installer before purchasing solar panels.

Our typical customer in the Sydney area comes to us with a million questions about our solar panels and our installation processes. We love answering these questions because it’s important that a new solar owner understands their system in order to get the most out of it.

Sometimes we’ll come across a customer who isn’t too sure how solar panels work or what questions to ask us, their installer. There’s no shame in not knowing what to ask, that’s why we’re here!

Here are a few essential questions you should ask your installer before purchasing solar panels. Make sure you are getting the information you need so you know exactly what to expect from your new solar system.

8 Questions To Ask Before Purchasing Solar Panels

1. What is the estimated monthly and annual production in kWh of my system in its installation position?
Asking this question will ensure you are aware of the capacity your system will generate. It will also make sure you and the installer understand where the panels will be positioned (the installer should have taken into account any shaded spots on your roof).

2. What is the estimated solar electricity production in the best and worst months?
Knowing the answer to this question will mean you’ll never be surprised by low production months. Keep in mind unexpected circumstances like bad weather can reduce your production.

3. Who will service and maintain my solar system?
Your installer should give you an address and contact details in writing of someone local who can maintain your system.

4. What are the responsibilities of each party?
Understand what each party is responsible for, including the installer, manufacturer and yourself.

5. Who is responsible for connecting your solar PV system to the electricity grid?
Is it the installer or another subcontractor? When will it happen? This is one thing you don’t want to leave to the last minute.

6. Who is responsible for your meter change?
Make sure this is clarified. Quality installation companies usually offer to accommodate the whole job.

7. Ask how the installer will credit your solar rebate (STCs)?
Understanding your rebates early on will save a lot of hassle later on.

8. Get a detailed hand over manual.
Make sure you have a manual in case you need to deal with a different company in the future or you need your exact model number. It is also important to get in writing the various component warranties including installer workmanship guarantee, schedule of when deposits and progress payments are due.

LG Electronics Enters Battery Storage Market

LG Electronics will be entering the battery storage market in 2019. This is great news for anyone looking for a trustworthy battery storage option in Australia. Read more here.

Renewables Now reported last week that LG Electronics will be entering the battery storage market in 2019. This is great news for anyone looking for a trustworthy battery storage option in Australia.

As solar rooftops become more popular, so do battery storage systems. The benefits of selling excess energy to the grid and managing your own energy system at home attracts all home owners.

The new LG system and inverter pack was presented at the All-Energy Expo in Melbourne earlier this month.

Here are the details we know so far about LG’s home battery system:

  • The new LG home battery system will be released in 2019
  • The system will come in a pack with the LG 3 phase hybrid inverter
  • LG will also be offering expandable battery packs, allowing the system to store up to 12.8 kWh
  • The battery system will come with a 10 year warranty

 

The addition of the ESS to our energy portfolio will
enable us to support Australian homeowners with
a 3 phase electric power and their demand for
greater control over their residential energy
consumption.

– Markus Lambert, General Manager
Solar & Energy LG Electronics Australia

 

Renewables Now also report that LG’s NeON R and NeON 2 solar panel efficiency will be boosted by 5 W next year. LG Electronics will also begin selling more models for homes with limited roof space, opening up the market to more homeowners and families.

Read the full article on Renewables Now.