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InsightEffort and Impact – Reducing Carbon Emissions with Travel and Solar Energy

Train vs. plane

At this time of year my thoughts turn to Intersolar, a large solar and storage trade show, which happens in Munich every year.  Intersolar is huge!
It has an interesting mix of international companies and usually some interesting new technology ideas at the show. Last year, for the first time, I decided to see if I could reduce my carbon emissions by travelling from London to Intersolar by train.  I will be doing this again this year, albeit routing my travel via Paris instead of Brussels, hopefully to take advantage of more reliable train routes.
During my trip last year I started to think about the different ways that we can save carbon emissions and how much effort we need to put in.  I reckoned I saved around 0.3 tonnes of CO2 travelling to Munich by train last year, compared to flying.  It took two extra days and quite a lot of hassle.  I worked on the train, enjoyed the scenery and stopped off in some interesting places on the way. But it took some effort and there were some delays.  While the CO2 savings were significant, the journey by train cost at least 50% more than travelling by plane and took longer. Overall I enjoyed the journey despite the inconveniences.

How solar storage compares

Compare this to my decision this year to install a Powervault into my new home.  Over the years we have estimated that a Powervault system could reduce CO2 emissions by around 0.5 tonnes of CO2 per year.  Installing a Powervault has been much simpler than travelling to Munich by train! It will definitely save me money rather than costing me money in the medium term.  I installed my Powervault alongside solar panels which again will save money and reduce my emissions. The installation of the panels took one day and the Powervault itself took about half a day – roughly the same time as it took me to get to Munich – but a team of engineers did the work for me!
Like many of our customers I have seen for the first time the energy “quirks” of my new home – generating some interesting surprises about how energy is actually used and creating new opportunities to save money and reduce CO2 emissions.  Because I installed the system in spring, I have basically been off grid since it was installed and I have hardly imported any energy, even on days when the sun is not fully shining.  Like so many others we are actively trying to consume more of our solar energy during the day when it is sunny, alongside storing excess in the battery.
I know that, come the autumn, there will be less sun and I will need to rely on a time of use tariff – a tariff with low prices at off peak times – to allow me to charge up my battery. I’m looking forwards to signing up for SMARTSTOR which will help to automatically optimise my battery – working out the best time to charge the battery to maximise savings.
Most people don’t have as much time as I do to think about energy usage and CO2. It is great to see my battery reducing my emissions automatically without me having to put in a lot of effort.

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