Many companies try to decrease their carbon footprint and reduce energy costs. One way to do that is by installing solar panels on company buildings.
Most businesses rely on the main grid power to provide electricity to their sites; however, when you choose solar energy instead, you’re making a wise decision for the company and the environment. Let’s look at how they work and things to consider when buying solar panels for a business.
How solar panels work
Solar panels use the sun to produce energy that your business can use for power. They come in all shapes and sizes; you may see one solar panel on a small house or rows of them across acres of corporate property. Here is a list of the many benefits of solar energy for businesses.
- A renewable energy source that emits no gas.
- Solar energy is available as long as there is a sun.
- If your panels are off the grid, you’ll still have power during blackouts.
- You can get up to 75 percent savings in energy bills.
There are plenty of positives to installing solar panels. Before making a decision, it’s important to understand how much power your company needs to operate.
Understanding your power consumption
Every building, whether a home or a commercial structure, consumes power. Ventilation systems, HVAC units, and light fixtures use energy. Before choosing solar panels for your business, you must understand how much energy your building uses.
To find your building’s daily power consumption, engineers will determine the number of kilowatt-hours (kWh) per square foot. Commercial buildings use about 22 kWh/year, but that number varies per structure. A professional can pinpoint your company’s energy usage to help you choose the ideal solar panel system.
Understanding energy efficiency and panel materials
The different types of solar panels have varying levels of efficiency. This refers to the percentage of sunlight the panel can convert to electricity. All solar panels are made with silicon, though the type varies. No matter the design, material, or the efficiency level, solar panels are often framed using aluminum extrusions to hold them together, protect them from the weather, and make them more durable. Here are the most common types of solar panels:
- Polycrystalline: 15–17 percent efficiency and usually the least expensive.
- Monocrystalline: 20 percent efficiency and common for residential and commercial use.
- Thin-film solar panels: 11 percent efficiency, requiring a larger number of panels for use.
Polycrystalline and monocrystalline are the most common for commercial use.
Choose the right location
Location matters when installing solar panels; you’ll want to position them for maximum sunlight absorption. The best locations are on roofs facing south, east, or west. South-facing is the best choice. A north-facing roof will get the least hours of sunshine.
The more you understand these considerations when installing solar panels for your business, the better equipped your company will be to make the energy-efficient switch from grid power to solar energy.