Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) practices continue to surge in both size and influence as businesses today are making efforts to become more sustainable and environment friendly. To reduce their negative impacts on the environment, corporates, investors and customers are increasingly looking for ESG solutions. These days, more and more businesses are finding solar energy to be a simple and cost-effective way to contribute to their ESG goals. To elaborate, solar energy is the light and heat from the sun that can be harnessed through solar technologies, and corporates are basically utilizing these technologies to generate renewable “green” power. But just how effective are they? To explore and understand its potential, we will be looking at 3 ways on how solar energy can be an effective ESG solution.
1. Immediate Impact
The first benefit of solar energy is that it has a tangible and immediate impact. As mentioned previously, solar energy is harnessed through solar technologies and the most common way to do this is via solar panels, or photovoltaic cells. When sunlight hits these panels, the electrons are excited by the photons and loosen from their atoms, allowing them to flow through the photovoltaic cells and generate electricity. What this means is that the minute you turn on these solar panels, you are offsetting the electricity you are consuming on-site and reducing your scope 1 carbon emissions, which are defined as direct greenhouse emissions from company-owned resources. Essentially, the solar energy that is obtained can decrease the amount of utility-provided electricity that is needed to power a facility, thus decreasing utility dependence. As a whole, it is a low-cost, clean energy source that can directly offset a corporate’s utility consumption.
2. Economic Return
Speaking of costs, solar utilization can also lower electricity bills by providing businesses with an eco-friendly and low-cost power source. According to recent reports, the cost of renewable technologies such as wind turbines and solar panels are decreasing significantly. Furthermore, even the cost of large-scale solar projects has been reported to plunge by 85% over the past decade, which further fuels the use of renewable technologies in ESG practices. As such, utilizing solar energy will not only provide business organizations a win-win situation with ESG by promoting positive environmental changes but also mitigate the price of energy use.
3. Simple and Straightforward
In addition to being a very cost-effective renewable energy source, solar is also very simple to implement as it only requires a green space and does not need behavior changes or industry cooperation like other ESG practices. This allows nearly any type of businesses to consider this option as long as they have access to the roof of their facility. Solar utilization is also low maintenance in a sense that good quality solar panels can provide decades worth of low-cost energy without major maintenance to its system set up.
As it is also one of our on-going goals to continuously provide ESG solutions and carry out sustainable business practices, we have recently installed solar panels here at AVer as an effort to reduce carbon dioxide emissions ourselves. The solar panels can be found on the main roof top of our building as well as the roof top of our security guard booth. The solar panels we installed are 340W half-cut solar cells, which is a variation of the standard silicon solar cells that can help improve the solar panels’ performance and durability. This means that the half-cut cells can increase the efficiency of the solar panels while being more physically durable and resistant to cracking than their traditional counterparts. In addition, our solar system is equipped with a remote production monitoring technology, which provides preventative maintenance notifications and automatic performance measurements, including carbon emission reduction, standard coal saved, and deforestation. Since the installation of these solar panels at AVer, carbon emission was reduced by 2300kg while standard coal was saved by 691kg, and deforestation was reduced by 127 trees. Based on the current statistics, it is estimated that 14,659kg of carbon emission will be reduced in a year.
All in all, solar energy is a simple, immediate, and cost-effective ESG solution that can provide substantial and measurable results in decarbonization. It is not only an effective way to execute ESG initiatives but also a great option for operational savings. With solar technologies becoming more affordable and accessible than ever, it is perhaps safe to say that adopting solar energy is a trend and investment that is worth looking into.