Connect with us

Green

Animation: How Solar Panels Work

Published

on

Humans have been trying to harness the sun’s energy for most of history, but it was the invention of the first photovoltaic cell by French physicist Edmond Becquerel in 1839 that finally made solar energy possible on a grander scale.

Since then, solar has come a long way.

Not only has the cost of producing solar panels dropped like a rock, manufacturers are now routinely pumping out new innovations such as flexible solar cells, ultra-thin cells, and transparent photovoltaic windows. These could be game-changers for the industry, adding to the already incredible 39% annual growth occurring in U.S. solar capacity between 2013-2017.

Animated Infographic: How Solar Panels Work

Today’s infographic comes from SaveOnEnergy, and it covers the science behind how solar panels work.

While it is fairly technical, the handy animations will help you understand the principles behind photovoltaic cells in no time at all.

In terms of our understanding of how different energy sources work, perhaps the photovoltaic effect is one of the least intuitive processes for the average person to comprehend. After all, something like capturing wind energy is much more straightforward. The wind spins a turbine, and that turbine generates electricity.

But solar panels have no moving parts. So how do these thin, glassy arrays turn sunlight into energy we can use?

Each solar cell is made of multiple layers. The top semiconductor is a negative layer, which means the material contains extra electrons. The sun’s energy “shakes” these electrons loose, and these electrons become naturally attracted to the bottom semiconductor layer, which is positively charged. The design of the cell forces electrons to move in a specific direction, creating an electrical current.

Solar Cell Anatomy

Why are solar panels getting so much cheaper? Technological advances have made cells more efficient in using the photovoltaic effect to create electricity, and manufacturing processes are improving as well.

Interestingly, in the future, it is expected that cost reductions will be tilted more to “soft” costs such as those related to the financing, permitting, and selling of solar projects.

Click for Comments

Green

Visualized: An Investor’s Carbon Footprint, by Sector

Which sectors are the largest contributors to emissions? From energy to tech, this graphic shows carbon emissions by sector in 2023.

Published

on

Visualized: An Investor’s Carbon Footprint, by Sector

Published

on

The following content is sponsored by MSCI
Visualized: An Investor’s Carbon Footprint, by Sector

Visualized: An Investor’s Carbon Footprint, by Sector

In the quest for a sustainable future, investors can play a crucial role in shaping our planet’s destiny.

Understanding the carbon emissions in different sectors is a key way to make environmentally and financially conscious decisions and help make a positive impact on the planet.

This infographic, sponsored by MSCI, looks at carbon emissions by sector.

Types of Carbon Emissions

Unsurprisingly, industries heavily reliant on fossil fuels and energy-intensive processes, like energy, materials, and industrials, have significant carbon footprints. In contrast, service-based and technology industries are traditionally less carbon-intensive.

To get an accurate picture of a sector/industry’s carbon footprint, it’s important to look up and down their value chain. Here is how policymakers categorize carbon emissions:

  1. Scope 1: Generated directly by the organization and within its control e.g., on-site fuel combustion and internal industrial processes.
  2. Scope 2: Indirect emissions from energy use, such as purchased electricity, heat, or cooling.
  3. Scope 3: Indirect emissions, but different from Scope 2 emissions. These are emissions that the company does not directly control such as the emissions produced from a supplier or emissions generated from the use of its sold product.

Only looking at all three scopes of emissions can we arrive at a complete picture of a sector’s carbon footprint.

Volume of Carbon Emissions, by Sector

The following table breaks down the greenhouse gas emissions for each sector by scope. A sector’s carbon footprint is expressed in metric tons of CO2 equivalent for every $1 million in financing.

In other words, here’s how much of a climate impact a one million dollar investment has in each of the following sectors.

The total figure represents the weighted average carbon emissions of each sector’s constituents as of August 10, 2023:

SectorScope 1
Scope 2
Scope 3
Total
Energy263.327.22827.53118.0
Materials298.482.81349.21730.4
Utilities461.416.0405.5883.0
Industrials32.68.3425.1466.0
Consumer
discretionary
5.09.0372.2386.2
Consumer staples16.512.4276.4305.3
Information
technology
2.05.879.387.1
Health care1.82.470.975.1
Financials4.01.158.363.4
Real estate1.45.946.854.0
Communication
services
0.64.740.545.8

Represented by tCO₂e/USD million EVIC. EVIC is the enterprise value including cash.

Understanding carbon footprint profiles can help investors evaluate the risks faced by carbon-intensive industries, such as future regulations and reputational challenges.

MSCI’s climate metrics empower investors to make responsible investments and drive meaningful change.

Visual Capitalist Logo

Download MSCI’s Climate Metrics Report.

Click for Comments

You may also like

Subscribe

Continue Reading

Subscribe

Popular