UK policy for carbon reporting requires savings to be calculated using the annual mean carbon intensity of grid electricity. This work offers an insight into whether this technique is appropriate.
Using half hourly data on the generating plant supplying the grid from November 2008 to May 2010; carbon factors for grid electricity at half-hourly and daily resolution have been derived using technology specific generation emission factors.
Applying these factors to generation data from PV systems installed on schools; it is possible to assess the variation in the carbon savings from displacing grid electricity with PV generation using carbon factors with different time resolutions.
The data has been analyzed for a period of 363 to 370 days and so cannot account for inter-year variations in the relationship between PV generation and carbon intensity of the electricity grid. This analysis suggests that PV displaces more carbon intensive electricity using half-hourly carbon factors than using daily factors but less compared with annual ones.
A similar methodology could provide useful insights on other variable renewable and demand-side technologies and in other countries where PV performance and grid behavior are different.
Keywords: Renewable Energy; Photovoltaics; Carbon accounting