France reducing carbon footprint with solar panels
The French environment ministry had its first round of tender invitations of the 177 approved photovoltaic projects and will be using solar panels from Innotech Solar for around 20 percent of them.
As CO2 levels account for one third of the weighting in French tenders, Innotech Solar (ITS) modules, known for their small carbon footprint, were favored in the bidding process. Overall, solar projects with a cumulative capacity of 40.3 megawatts (MW) were awarded contracts.
Due to an environmentally friendly production process, photovoltaic modules from Scandinavian-German manufacturer Innotech Solar have a carbon footprint that is currently around 50 percent smaller than that of conventional modules. While over 870 kg of CO2 are emitted per kWp of plant capacity when manufacturing conventional crystalline modules, CO2 emissions total just 388 kg per kWp for the 250 watt EcoPlus module from the company.
After around only four months in operation, modules save the same quantity of CO2 as is used to manufacture them. In addition to the innovative production process, the use of renewable energy at the company’s manufacturing sites in Sweden and Germany, as well as the short transport routes, improve the company’s carbon footprint.
A multitude of tests by independent experts, such as the Fraunhofer Institute, Photovoltaik-Institut Berlin and PV Lab, have demonstrated the high performance, durability and positive environmental impact of ITS modules.
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All but two UK regions failing on school energy efficiency
Most schools are still "treading water" on implementing energy efficient technology, according to new analysis of Government data from eLight.
Yorkshire & the Humber and the North East are the only regions where schools have collectively reduced how much they spend on energy per pupil, cutting expenditure by 4.4% and 0.9% respectively. Every other region of England increased its average energy expenditure per pupil, with schools in Inner London doing so by as much as 23.5%.
According to The Carbon Trust, energy bills in UK schools amount to £543 million per year, with 50% of a school’s total electricity cost being lighting. If every school in the UK implemented any type of energy efficient technology, over £100 million could be saved each year.
Harvey Sinclair, CEO of eEnergy, eLight’s parent company, said the figures demonstrate an uncomfortable truth for the education sector – namely that most schools are still treading water on the implementation of energy efficient technology. Energy efficiency could make a huge difference to meeting net zero ambitions, but most schools are still lagging behind.
“The solutions exist, but they are not being deployed fast enough," he said. "For example, we’ve made great progress in upgrading schools to energy-efficient LED lighting, but with 80% of schools yet to make the switch, there’s an enormous opportunity to make a collective reduction in carbon footprint and save a lot of money on energy bills. Our model means the entire project is financed, doesn’t require any upfront expenditure, and repayments are more than covered by the energy savings made."
He said while it has worked with over 300 schools, most are still far too slow to commit. "We are urging them to act with greater urgency because climate change won’t wait, and the need for action gets more pressing every year. The education sector has an important part to play in that and pupils around the country expect their schools to do so – there is still a huge job to be done."
North Yorkshire County Council is benefiting from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which has so far awarded nearly £1bn for energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects around the country, and Craven schools has reportedly made a successful £2m bid (click here).
The Department for Education has issued 13 tips for reducing energy and water use in schools.