Sustainability Takes Center Stage

“Environmentally friendly,” “green,” “sustainable” — these words have become ubiquitous, plastered on products from handbags to home décor and everything in between. As a society, we’re more aware than ever of the difference we can make purchasing smart, sustainable products and the role we can play shifting to cleaner, green solutions like renewable energy.

As we strive to make our own decisions with environmental responsibility in mind, we expect the companies we know and love to do the same. Major food retailers are meeting this demand from their customers by requiring all members of their supply chain — right down to the growers and manufacturers themselves — to document and reduce their environmental footprint.

Universities, shopping centers, sports arenas, charitable foundations, utilities, and beyond are also stepping up to the plate with bold sustainable initiatives that demonstrate their commitment to protecting our natural environment. For many, installing solar is the go-to option for meeting sustainability goals and enhancing reputation in social responsibility.

In fact, the Solar Energy Industries Association recently reported that between 2010 and 2014, residential, non-residential, and utility PV market segments grew significantly year over year. At present, there are more than 15,900 MW of cumulative solar electric capacity operating in the U.S. That’s a dramatic amount of renewable sun power and a monumental step forward on the path to cleaner, greener energy.

What do solar savings look like?

Solar is soaring, but how does it actually translate into sustainability savings?

Last spring, Panasonic completed a 16.2 megawatt portfolio of California Renewable Energy Small Tariff (CREST) projects.  Spanning four locations in Central Valley, the system packs a lot of power and is a prime example of the real-life benefits of going solar. Over the life of the system, more than 580,000 tons of carbon dioxide will be eliminated. Here’s a peak at what that looks like:

  • Trash to treasure. What do you do with your leftovers? Unfortunately, waste is an everyday reality, but what we do with it can make a world of difference. Recycling programs across the nation have helped our communities become more sustainable. While these programs play a crucial part in the “greening” of our society, to reach the level of CO2 eliminated by the Central Valley portfolio it would take recycling 1,836,513 tons of waste.
  • Fields of green. Trees purify our air, absorbing CO2 through the process of photosynthesis. The amount of CO2 eliminated by the Central Valley solar system rivals the work of more than 13,541,378 trees. That’s a lot of green.
  • No place like home. Unfortunately, the safe haven where we rest our feet and sit down to an evening meal is actually a leading producer of CO2 due to its high consumption of electricity. To reach the level of emissions reduced by Panasonic’s solar system, you’d have to displace CO2 from the annual electric use of 65,893 homes.
  • Pedal to the metal. We all know thatcars are a leading producer of CO2. Day in and day out, we pay a pretty penny at the pump, but so does our planet. How much CO2 could be eliminated if we were to avoid using 59,279,850 gallons of gasoline? You guessed it, right around 580,000 tons.

While it will take efforts of all sizes and scale to help protect the planet, the sustainability savings of solar are clear. More and more companies and organizations, both private and public, are jumping on board with solar and taking active steps forward. Working together, more solar projects are coming to light, reducing utility costs and helping ensure a cleaner environment. It’s a win-win all around.

Want to know more about solar savings? Visit our partner page at Panasonic Eco Solutions

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Edwin F. Feo, COO and managing director for Coronal Management, is responsible for Coronal’sdevelopment efforts and for maintaining the firm’s developer relationships. Mr. Feo is a pioneer inenergy development and finance and a respected authority on the energy industry. He leads anongoing dialogue on renewable energy by chairing or speaking at top industry conferences. Hewas named one of the “Five Most Influential People in Renewable Energy” byEuromoney/Institutional Investor and ranked by Project Finance magazine in “Deals of the Year”and “Top Legal Advisors” in the renewable energy industry.Prior to Coronal, Mr. Feo co-chaired the Global Project Finance practice at the international lawfirm of Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy, LLP, where he spearheaded the development of oneof the first law firm practice groups devoted to renewable energy. Under his leadership, the groupclosed more than 200 renewable energy transactions for more than $35 billion in capital.He was a co-founder of USRG Renewable Finance, which arranged the senior debt financing for375 MW of rooftop solar photovoltaic projects. Highly active in the industry, Mr. Feo serves on theboards of several companies engaged in the financing of renewable energy and energy efficiencysystems.Mr. Feo holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, and earned hisJuris Doctor degree from the University of California, Los Angeles-School of Law.

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