Climate change is a global emergency that is affecting the planet in the most detrimental ways. To keep global temperatures from rising beyond the danger threshold, the world must reduce emissions from many different areas of society. Businesses are not exempted from this responsibility. In fact, they are the key players in decarbonising the world and creating a low-carbon pathway. With solar energy being one of the most abundant renewable resources available, it has become a critical part of limiting carbon emissions and achieving carbon neutrality. Solar is a clean source that can provide businesses with affordable and reliable power without creating new negative externalities for both the environment and society. This article explores decarbonisation and how solar energy helps businesses to decarbonise in the most beneficial way while reducing their environmental impact.
What is Decarbonisation?
Decarbonisation is the process of reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions through the application of low-carbon energy sources and achieving a lower output of greenhouse gas emissions. For businesses to decarbonise, they must reduce the amount of carbon they generate from their operations. Limiting the number of carbon emissions from businesses is a keyway to greatly help in decarbonising the world. Through a low-carbon pathway, the rate of global warming can be slowed down for a better chance of surviving the adverse effects of climate change.
How Does Decarbonisation Work?
Decarbonisation reduces the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, thereby minimising its impact on global warming. By making changes to production processes, consumers can reduce their carbon footprint and contribute to climate change mitigation. One way to decarbonise an economy is to invest heavily in renewable energy sources like solar and wind that do not produce carbon dioxide. Another way is to increase energy efficiency, which can be done by changing consumption patterns and by investing in innovative technologies. Reducing fossil fuel consumption also helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Nevertheless, decarbonisation does not only involve cutting down on CO2 emissions. It also involved reducing methane and other greenhouse gases such as nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, and sulfur hexafluoride.
Greenhouse gases form an invisible “blanket” around earth, their molecular structure traps heat and keeps the planet warm. However, increasing emissions are making the “blanket” hotter than we are prepared to handle. NASA-JPL/Caltech
Why is Decarbonisation Important?
A growing number of leading environmental and social justice organisations are calling for rapid decarbonisation of the global economy. Decarbonisation is a crucial step toward reducing the risks of climate change, ending the fossil fuel era, and building a just, sustainable future. With recent Russia's invasion of Ukraine causing a global energy crisis, many nations are also taking action to decarbonise, shifting from dependence on Russian fossil fuels to alternative sources that are more sustainable.
There is also strong evidence that decarbonising the global economy will be critical for many countries to reduce poverty and inequality. As well as reducing carbon emissions, decarbonisation also provides many great benefits to society. It creates jobs for people who are transitioning away from fossil fuels and helps to reduce energy costs for businesses and individuals. It also massively reduces pollution from fossil fuels, which in turn improves public health outcomes in manifold ways.
Decarbonisation is not a silver bullet that can solve all problems related to climate change. However, it is an important part of the solution that everyone can contribute to by reducing their carbon footprint while moving towards a greener lifestyle. Indeed, the transition to a low-carbon future is one of the greatest challenges humanities has ever faced, but it can also be an opportunity to leapfrog old technologies and create a more sustainable society.
HOW SOLAR ENERGY CAN DECARBONISE BUSINESSES?
Replacing Fossil Fuels with Clean Energy
The most paramount way that solar energy is helping to decarbonise businesses is by replacing fossil fuels with clean energy. This is a vital part of decarbonisation as fossil fuel is the primary source of carbon emissions that are causing global warming. Most businesses rely on energy to power their operations, and that energy typically comes from fossil fuels. While fossil fuels provide a cheap and easy source of power, they generate a substantial amount of CO2 emissions as a byproduct of their extraction and usage.
Solar energy does not create these emissions because it is a renewable resource and does not rely on finite sources like fossil fuels. Instead, it harnesses the sun’s rays as an endless source of energy that can be captured and used to generate power. Apart from contributing to the fight against climate change, the adoption of solar benefits businesses in many ways. These include lower operating costs, protection against tariff increases, and savings of up to 85% on their electricity bills, among others. Fundamentally, replacing fossil fuels with clean energy is an excellent way to make businesses more sustainable and accelerate the race toward carbon neutrality.
Reducing Carbon Footprint for Businesses
Regardless of the industry, understanding the carbon footprint of a business can help to improve the bottom line on a number of levels. The use of solar power systems can significantly reduce companies' carbon footprint by reducing their energy consumption. Most of the environmental impact of traditional energy sources is due to the extraction and processing of raw materials. This process is inherently destructive, requiring a great deal of energy and water to extract, transport, and refine the materials used in the manufacturing process.
By reducing the number of non-renewable resources consumed in the manufacturing process, the demand for all raw materials, including fossil fuels, decreases. In this way, companies can reduce their Scope 2 emissions, contributing to decarbonisation. Further, by limiting the need for infrastructures such as roads and power lines, solar will aid in reducing emissions associated with building and maintaining those infrastructure assets. The net result is a reduction in emissions from both sources. As businesses use solar panels, those panels can generate electricity that is sold back to the grid. This offsetting of electricity use allows the grid to remain stable and reduces the impact on the environment when electricity usage increases.
Helping to Build a More Sustainable Supply Chain
Additionally, solar energy helps companies decarbonise by helping them to build a more sustainable supply chain. A large portion of carbon emissions caused by businesses are due to the energy that powers their supply chains. While the emissions from the actual operations of a business are relatively easy to see and account for, emissions from the supply chain are often overlooked. The carbon emissions caused by the transportation and production of goods to businesses can be significant and can greatly escalate the overall carbon footprint of a business. For instance, a truck traveling across the country to deliver goods produces a lot of CO2 emissions during its journey. By installing solar energy at facilities in a business supply chain, they can significantly reduce the emissions caused by their operations. This can help companies reduce their overall carbon footprint and make a valuable contribution towards decarbonising the society.
Allowing Companies to Become Leaders in the Eco-Movement
The adoption of solar energy allows companies to be at the forefront of the eco-movement, enabling decarbonisation. As businesses across many different industries begin to embrace solar energy, they also become leaders in the effort to decarbonise society and thus inspire a positive change in the world. This can have a significant impact on the future of emissions reduction and avail the world closer to a clean, sustainable future. By becoming leaders in the eco-movement, businesses play a part in influencing others to follow in their footsteps and embrace solar energy. Taking advantage of this aspect of solar energy can be incredibly helpful in leading the world toward a sustainable and net-zero future.
The world is undergoing rapid changes when it comes to climate and energy, and businesses must adapt to remain competitive. Solar energy offers a clean and abundant energy source that can help companies decarbonize their energy supply. Consequently, this reduces carbon emissions and contributes to the fight against climate change at the global level. Solar energy also offers other benefits to businesses, such as improved grid stability, lower operating costs, and protection from changing electric rates. Installing solar panels and decarbonising energy supply is a great way for businesses to decarbonise the world and reduce emissions.
If you are looking to embark on a green journey for your business, it is time to make the switch to clean energy like solar power. As a clean energy provider and Net Zero partner, Progressture Solar facilitates the ownership of rooftop solar PV systems for commercial and industrial buildings. We are committed to helping companies make the transition to clean energy and accelerate their sustainability efforts. Together, let us work toward a green and fossil fuel-free future.
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