By Dani Sheehan.
A new solar panel installation being built on the Falken tire manufacturing facility in Thailand will become the largest solar panel installation in the world. Using over 40,000 solar panels, it will cover an area of 100,000 square meters, which is equivalent to roughly ten city blocks in Manhattan, New York. Once it’s completed in January 2025, the facility will be able to use 100% renewable energy, and it is expected to reduce annual carbon emissions by 38,000 metric tons. To put this into perspective, it takes roughly 50 trees growing in a year to offset 1 metric ton of CO2 emissions. This rooftop solar panel is equivalent, then, to planting somewhere in the ballpark of 1.9 million trees!
Falken is a subsidiary of Sumitomo Rubber Industries (SRI) which has a long-term sustainability policy called Driving our Future Challenge 2050, to help move more quickly toward carbon neutral goals. Many large companies are moving toward investing in sustainability and carbon neutral projects, and rooftop solar panels offer advantages to both the environment and building owners.
Solar panels offer great benefits for both residential homes and commercial buildings. Once installed, they require very minimal maintenance and can help protect roofs from harmful weather conditions. For many homeowners, a few solar panels are enough to eliminate their energy bill through certain parts of the year, but in general, any building will see significant reductions in their electricity bills. In the U.S. there are also huge tax credits and rebates available for switching to solar, so a homeowner’s or company’s investment could earn them money in the long run.
By reducing the reliance on fossil fuels to produce electricity, solar systems are extremely environmentally friendly. They help to combat climate change by improving the air quality since the home or building is not emitting carbon dioxide with the burning of natural gas, and they reduce overall water consumption. Certain considerations need to be made when looking at adding solar panels to a roofing system, but they make a great addition to a variety of roofs.
It doesn’t have to be the world’s largest solar roof to help make a positive impact. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a single solar panel can offset carbon emissions more than ten mature trees. Whether it’s a corporate office looking to increase their green reputation, or a homeowner looking to improve their resale value, the roofing industry is positioned well above the rest in contributing to a more sustainable future.
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Dani is a writer for the Coffee Shops and AskARoofer™. When she's not writing or researching, she's training for trail races and working on her yoga teaching certification.
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