2011 wasn’t a banner year for solar energy in Connecticut, but Horst Engineering still managed to generate nearly 40,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of clean energy at our 41 Cedar Street plant. We have 128 rooftop solar panels that provide 40% to 50% of the power needed to run that facility depending on our annual production and usage.
At the start of the year, the panels were covered by a record amount of snow thanks to a brutal winter. Spring was cloudy and wet, early summer was on par with prior years, while late summer and early fall were also cloudy and wet. Our total 2011 production trailed 2010 by a whopping 14% because 2010 was a fantastic year with lots of sunshine. 2010 was 10% better than 2009, the year our system went live.
Solar estimates are based on decades of analysis, so one year is only a blip when a system has a 25+ year lifespan, but the numbers are fun to track. In terms of clean energy, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Greenhouse Gas Calculator is a fantastic tool. Pick the equivalency that makes the most sense.
2011’s total production of 40,000 kWh’s is equivalent to 27.6 metric tons of CO2, or one of the following:
- annual greenhouse gas emissions from 5.4 passenger vehicles
- CO2 emissions from 3,092 gallons of gasoline consumed
- CO2 emissions from 64.1 barrels of oil consumed
- carbon sequestered annual by 5.9 acres of pine or fir forest
- CO2 emissions from 1,149 propane cylinders used for home BBQ’s
- greenhouse gas emissions avoided by recycling 9.6 tons of waste instead of sending it to landfill
In three years, we have produced more than 129,000 kWh’s of clean energy and produced 44% of the 41 Cedar Street plant’s total electricity demand. This is fantastic. Most of 2012 is still in the future, but so far, we are much better off than 2011. The sun is shining brilliantly today, and let’s hope it keeps shining!
To learn more about our solar PV electric power system and all of our environmental initiatives, click here.
To view our live monitoring system, click here (check it on a sunny day!)