With climate change and environmental sustainability making recent headlines and gaining global attention, business owners across the U.S. are weighing the advantages and disadvantages of utilizing solar energy to better their company.
If you’re like many of these business owners, the idea of solar power might be risky. However, whether or not you’re primarily concerned for the environment, there are several benefits of going solar. Below are four factors to consider when deciding if solar energy is right for your business.
Location, Location, Location
Location is everything when considering solar power as a means of energy for your business. Take for example, the superstore IKEA. This Swedish home furnishing powerhouse has stores with solar installations in 20 states throughout the US. With solar-powered stores in states like Arizona, California, North Carolina, and Illinois, they’ve chosen to make the most of their solar resource by installing panels on stores within states that have a considerable amount of sunshine.
While having sunshine is definitely advantageous, what’s most essential is daylight. Because heat doesn’t have an effect on the production of electricity, your panels wouldn’t need direct sunlight to work. However, if your business is in a location with frequent heavy clouds or regular heavy rain, solar panels would be 60% less effective than if your business gets substantial sunshine.
Assess the Energy Demands of Your Business
Before deciding whether or not to use solar power, examine the current energy demands of your business. Do you have high energy usage or power a large amount of appliances or electronics? Solar power can potentially reduce your overall energy bill by more than 15 percent. One rule of thumb is if your electric bill is greater than $150 each month, you’ll start to see bigger returns on your investment in solar.
Space is Crucial
Having adequate space for solar panels is a must if you are going to make the installation worth it. Whether you rent or own your business property, make sure you have a south facing roof or land that can accommodate a solar system. With help from a commercial solar specialist, you can determine how much space you’ll need to make your solar panels a true investment.
You’ll also need to consider the size of the solar system you’re interested in installing. For example, the average solar panel is about 4-feet long and 30-inches wide, meaning eight panels can take up about 24 feet in length depending on orientations. One rule of thumb says that you need 100 square feet of roof space for every 1 kW of conventional solar panels.
Will You Get Sufficient Payback?
Lastly, one of the most important things to consider when determining if solar energy is right for your business is the payback period. Will the savings in energy payoff the investment in a short amount of time? If so, solar is probably a great option. If the numbers don’t add up and you’ll be spending more than saving across an extended amount of time, perhaps you should explore other options.
Along with obvious financial benefits, installing a solar system for your business holds value beyond the walls of your company and into your community and the greater industry. However, solar solutions are not for every business. Consult with a commercial solar specialist for more information or for more advice on whether or not solar is energy is right for your business.
Author: Hayden Beck is a freelance writer that contributes content to multiple online publications. Recently, he has worked with Legend Solar. Hayden’s focus includes writing about solar power and green industry trends. Hayden is committed to helping individuals learn more about renewable energy and new bio-technologies.