Basics of solar energy for business

Commercial solar panels can make a real difference to your business. Whether you’re looking for a more energy-efficient alternative to cut down on your electricity bills, or want to become a more sustainable business to take customers away from your unfriendly competitors, solar power could be a good option.

But before you make an investment decision, you need to make sure that solar energy is the right option for you. In this article, we will explore the key advantages and disadvantages of solar energy.

What are solar panels?

Solar panels, sometimes known as PV or photovoltaic panels, consist of many individual cells made of semiconductor material—most commonly silicon. When the light shines on the panel, a flow of electricity is created, which can then help generate electricity for your business.

All solar panels will generate direct current (DC) electricity. Since households and businesses use alternating current (AC), an inverter must be installed to convert direct current to alternating current. Typically, each solar panel generates about 550…650 watts in strong sunlight. Solar photovoltaic cells do not need direct sunlight to work, as they can generate electricity even on cloudy days. Many businesses choose to invest in battery storage to help combat the loss of excess solar energy generated by the system during the day.

Is solar power reliable enough for my business?

Solar energy can be one of the most reliable sources of natural energy you can use to power your business. But this will depend on its location and the amount of sunlight your premises typically receive, it’s still a great, greener source of energy. As you might expect, solar power is most efficient in the summer, when the days are longer and there is usually much more sun available to generate electricity. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of solar power during the winter months. Instead, it simply means that your reliance on solar energy should be reduced during the winter as we have darker days and worse weather conditions than.

 

 

What are the types of solar panels?

There are several different types of solar panels, some more efficient than others, that can be installed on a roof. However, monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar panels are most often installed.

Advantages of monocrystalline panels

  • High purity silicon means these panels have one of the highest efficiency ratings
  • They require a minimum of installation space
  • They are less affected by the weather compared to other types

Disadvantages of monocrystalline panels

  • As the temperature increases, performance decreases
  • These are the most expensive type of solar panels due to their high efficiency and the quality of the silicon used

Advantages of polycrystalline panels

  • Polycrystalline panels have a fairly good efficiency index
  • They are a cheaper alternative

Disadvantages of polycrystalline panels

  • They have a lower efficiency compared to monocrystalline panels
  • Most likely, such panels will have a shorter service life.

How many solar panels does my business need?

Every solar project is unique. However, there are key determining factors that will affect how many solar panels you will need:

  • Electricity Use – The amount of electricity your business uses is a big deciding factor in how much electricity you use. Generally, most solar panel suppliers will check your current energy usage with your bills, half-hourly data or any other usage data. This is usually the total number of kilowatt*hours for the day, month and year.
  • The size of your roof is a key factor as it determines the number of panels that can be installed on your roof. It is also important to consider the structural strength of the roof: will it withstand the weight of the panels.
  • The amount of sunlight in your area. The energy that solar panels can generate depends on the hours of sunlight you get in your area.

It is important to remember that the best solar panel systems are not the biggest, but the most efficient.

What are the benefits of solar energy for business?

Commercial solar energy offers a wide range of benefits for businesses, both large and small. As the cost of electricity starts to rise, rational use of roof space can be a smart decision. Some of the benefits that solar panels can have for your business include:

  • Solar Income – Ideally, you’d like to use all the solar energy you generate on-site. However, any additional excess electricity can be sold to the grid.
  • Carbon Reduction – Generating your own solar energy will significantly reduce your company’s carbon footprint.
  • Better Corporate Social Responsibility — Solar panels, in addition to actively improving the environment, can serve as a demonstration of your business’ commitment to environmental causes. As customers increasingly make eco-friendly choices when shopping, solar panels are a great way to boost your corporate social responsibility.
  • Savings – Solar panels generate free electricity during the day that can be used on site. This reduces your business’s energy needs from the grid.
  • Reducing dependence on imported energy and limited resources.
  • Improvement of energy security. Less reliance on the national grid means your business is less vulnerable to blackouts and other outages. Storing electricity on-site means you’re giving your business a reserve to fall back on should the need arise.

What are the disadvantages of solar power for business?

While solar energy can be a wonderful thing, like most energy options, it also has its drawbacks.

  • High initial upfront cost – While solar panels can save you money in the long run, they have a high upfront cost initially. This includes paying for the solar panels, inverter, wiring, batteries and installation.
  • Uses a lot of space – the more electricity you want to generate, the more panels you’ll need. Also, as the number of solar panels increases, more roof space is required.
  • Solar power can be expensive. If you work 24/7, chances are you’ll need a 24/7 power source. Solar energy must be used immediately, or it can be stored in large batteries that can be extremely expensive to maintain.
  • Weather Dependency – Although solar energy can be collected during rainy and overcast days, the efficiency of the energy you receive will drop. Solar panels depend on sunlight to efficiently collect and store solar energy, so on days when the weather isn’t as bright, you’ll see a noticeable difference.

Investing in renewable energy for your business can be a smart move, but requires careful planning. But in any case, the benefits you will get in the long run will far outweigh the costs incurred. Contact Avenston to discuss your PV progect in details and to find out the best solution.

 

Key business activities of Avenston

Utility-Scale Solar Plants

We build on-grid utility-scale solar PV power plants to operate using a "green" tariff or to sell electricity through a system of "green" auctions. On-grid ground-mounted solar power plants - project, turnkey EPC-contract, connection to grid.
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Commercial Solar Plants

Since 2010, we have been performing a full range of development, engineering, construction, and maintenance for all types of solar photovoltaic power systems. Huge practical experience in the construction of solar power plants for commercial use.
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Energy Storage Systems

A full range of services for the implementation of battery energy storage systems (BESS) for solar PV power plants and other renewable energy facilities, industry and the commercial sector. Development, design, construction and commissioning.
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Operations & Maintenance

We expand the useful lifetime of facilities, maximize their profitability, streamline their performance and availability, and minimize their consumption and operating costs. Routine and non-routine maintenance, warranty, and service.
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