A year of sun

In August 2017 we installed solar panels on our rooftop in an effort to generate our own clean energy, offsetting the amount of energy we purchase from traditional, polluting sources. A year has passed since our Green Office team and the contractors made estimations on how much energy we could hope to generate, based on average sunshine hours in Taipei, the location of our roof and our continuing efforts at energy reduction in our offices. We predicted that the panels, covering 76 square meters, would generate 13,000 kilowatt hours of energy a year, equivalent to 18% of our total electricity usage.

In the year that’s passed, we actually generated 14,216 kilowatt hours, slightly above our original estimates. As anyone living in Taipei knows, we’ve had a very hot and sunny summer! The following screenshot is from our energy monitoring system, where we can see the amount of energy generated in real time. It goes without saying that the middle of the day is when we generate the most electricity, incidentally, when Taiwan’s energy demand is at its highest. We believe, therefore, that the installation of solar panels can help reduce the strain placed on the energy grid during peak demand and encourage other businesses and rooftop owners to look into the viability of installing their own solar panels.

So how does this generated electricity translate into usage? We calculated that based on a year’s worth of energy bills, the solar panels generated 24% of our total electricity usage during the past year. This was due in part to our energy reduction initiatives in our office (energy efficient lighting, computers set to sleep, air-conditioning used sparingly and set to 26-28C, turning lights off at lunchtime etc.), but also due to the amount of sun shining on the panels. 83% of the energy generated was used by us, with 17% sold back to the grid (energy generated at weekends when we’re not at work). We also calculated that installing the solar panels reduced our carbon footprint by 7867kg.

As you can see, installing solar panels has not only saved us money, but has reduced the amount of electricity we buy that was generated by environmentally unfriendly processes. We have also proved that Taipei is a viable location for solar panels. There are also government subsidies available to offset the installation costs, information of which can be found here.

For more information on our solar panels and other Green Office initiatives, please contact City Shen at cshen@winklerpartners.com.