Have you ever thought about what makes a spot ideal for a solar farm? The obvious answer is sun exposure, but that’s not the only factor we consider at Clearloop when choosing a location for our next project. Not all sunny places are made equal. That is why Clearloop has pioneered the use of Emissionality, a quantitative measurement that compares the impact of renewable energy projects on driving down emissions to determine where new solar generation can displace the most carbon. Emissionality is a combination of two key criteria for Clearloop’s solar projects: Carbon Intensity and Additionality.
This term has been used within the renewable energy industry for years. Simply put, it means investing in new solar projects rather than financially supporting renewable sources that are already up and running. By adding new energy sources to the grid, a solar farm increases the amount of clean energy being produced. A carbon project is additional if the emissions reductions or removals would not have occurred if the project had not been implemented.
Additionality ensures that our projects are making real changes to decarbonize the energy grid and increase clean energy sources.
Carbon Intensity is crucial in picking a location for a new renewable project. The local grid makeup impacts the amount of carbon being avoided from the clean energy coming into the grid.
Let’s say you are in California and turn on your lights; that action emits a certain amount of carbon into the atmosphere. However, the same action in the same house in Louisiana would emit more carbon solely because of the makeup of the grid.
41% of California’s grid already runs on renewable energy, while only 3% of Louisiana’s energy supply comes from renewable sources (Source: EPA eGRID). A carbon-intense grid like Louisiana’s releases more carbon than a grid that is supported by renewables.
Because of this difference, a decarbonization tool like a solar farm is able to displace much more carbon in a community that runs on carbon-intense grids as opposed to one that already runs on renewables.
Emissionality: The Big Picture
Together Additionality and Carbon Intensity make up Emissionality. By looking at these two factors, we can ensure that our projects are making significant changes to the energy grid and avoiding as much carbon as possible. In fact, our project in Jackson, Tennessee has displaced over 1.7 million pounds of carbon since going live in September 2022.
With the support of our corporate partners, Clearloop is able to bring new renewable energy infrastructure to places where it can achieve significant environmental and economic benefits. Learn more about how your business can partner with Clearloop to make a difference.