Solar Energy: Quantifying Emissions Reduction

Blymyer Unveils Major Gains in Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions

The McKenzie utility scale solar power plant. One of many helping emission reductions across the U.S.Alameda, California-based Blymyer Engineers, an industrial, civil and commercial engineering firm established in 1961, has been actively involved in designing and building PV solar installation for more than a decade. With commercial and utility scale facilities in their portfolio across the U.S., engineers at Blymyer decided to crunch the numbers, adding up the total amount of solar energy produced and the amount of CO2 emissions reduced.

Figuring the tonnage of CO2 emissions required every year to produce the same amount of energy  from fossil fuels generated by their solar energy portfolio was an eye-opener. “The result surprised even our staff,” says a representative of Blymyer.

Like driving 3 billion less miles or leaving 500,000 tons of coal in the ground

The cumulative effect of Blymyer’s solar design projects has reduced CO2 emissions in the U.S. by 1,171,000 metric tons per year. Over the lifetime of the solar installations that adds up to nearly 27,000,000 metric tons of carbon emissions reduction. According to the EPA, reducing CO2 emissions by just one million metric tons is equivalent to 3 billion car miles driven or burning more than one billion pounds of coal.

“This is an unprecedented achievement for our company and demonstrates how solar is augmenting our country’s energy needs with a clean and renewable energy source,” states Michael Rantz, President of Blymyer Engineers. “The solar projects we’ve worked on not only save energy and create jobs but significantly reduce the greenhouse gases contributing to global warming.”

There’s still a long way to go before anyone can claim a decarbonized power grid. Every year U.S. power plants emit more than two billion tons of CO2 into the atmosphere from burning fossil fuels. But the trend is clear, renewable energy is the way of the future, both economically and environmentally. Most new power generation capacity in the U.S. comes from renewable energy sources. In July of this year renewable sources accounted for all new generating capacity.

According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, there are more than 26,000 megawatts of utility scale solar projects currently under development in the U.S., several of which are designed by Blymyer Engineers.

Adding up the numbers like Blymyer did helps quantify the real benefit of solar energy – for our health, for our economy and for our future.

Image courtesy of Blymyer Engineers


Thomas Schueneman
Thomas Schueneman
Tom is the founder and managing editor of and the PlanetWatch Group. His work appears in Triple Pundit, Slate, Cleantechnia, Planetsave, Earth911, and several other sustainability-focused publications. Tom is a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists.

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