Commonly Asked Questions about Commercial Solar Panels
Buying a solar system for your business can be a daunting task, especially when you are considering something totally new and different. In most cases, you may not know what you don't know when it comes to asking questions, discovering who your contacts are, and establishing whether your answers are complete, accurate, and unbiased.
In case you're serious about going solar, I recommend hiring an independent solar energy consultant who can help you with decisions about solar - knowing which technologies to choose, selecting a location for your solar installation, exploring the different funding options, understanding maintenance concerns, etc. In the initial stages of your search, though, here are some questions you can ask solar panel installation companies (which can include commercial solar dealers, distributors, installers or manufacturers) to find out whether solar energy is right for your business:
Can solar energy be used to power our business?
With energy costs rising and non-renewable resources becoming in short supply, companies are paying more for solar power systems. Moreover, sudden spikes in energy prices are often the result of events beyond your control, putting undue pressure on your business.
Electric pumps and anything else that uses electricity can be powered by solar energy, notes Green Solar Roofers. Business owners can cover all their electricity needs with the right array and enough space.
Should I choose a larger or smaller system for my business?
Most commercial solar users choose rooftop arrays. Carport or ground arrays are also available, as well as combinations of these. A solar installation can take place offsite or on your property. The amount of solar you need can be just enough to meet your energy needs, or you can build more than you need and possibly receive credit for any excess the project produces (depending on public policy and the policies of utility companies in your state's energy market). Commercial solar energy storage systems are also an option.
Solar energy consultants, solar power manufacturers, or solar power dealers can provide you with the answer to this question. To determine whether enough panels can be installed on your site to meet your energy needs, they will need to examine your past and current energy demands. Alternatively, higher-efficiency panels or an offsite solution might be needed if your building or site cannot accommodate enough panels. The challenge is finding the right solar solution because there are many ways to harness solar power.
Most roofs can be converted into cost-efficient solar energy systems by solar energy installers. Annual production is highest on roofs facing southwest. It is less likely that energy will be produced on the east and north sides.
Which method can I use to determine whether there is sufficient sunlight for solar?
For PV systems to generate electricity, the sun's rays have to be unobstructed for the majority, if not all, of the day. Basically, all PV systems are relatively unaffected by extreme weather, so shading can have a significant effect on their efficiency. Climate is not really a concern, because PV systems aren't really affected by the weather. The sun's rays can actually work better on some PV modules in colder weather, as long as any snow that collects on them is quickly melted: this is because most PV panels are angled to catch the sun's rays. Commercial and residential buildings can utilize solar energy systems almost everywhere since there is enough sunlight to make them work.
Addition of more panels will compensate for decreased sunlight. However, weather is not an issue, but any obstructions, such as dust, bird poop, shading from trees or other structures, or fallen leaves, can affect efficiency.
How much weight will the solar panels put on my roof?
As a rule, an attached system adds 3 pounds to the weight of the roof, whereas a ballasted system adds 4 to 6 pounds. The building should be able to support these loads if it dates from 1970 or later. An engineer will examine the property if any concerns arise.
How can I compare price bids from solar contractors?
Green Solar Roofers recommends comparing bids by looking at the price per watt. Consumers, however, are advised to compare oranges with oranges. Solar panels with a wattage of 300 watts per panel should cost less than panels with a wattage of 340 watts per panel.
In the winter, how well will my solar system perform?
The panels do not require extreme temperatures or bright sunlight. They require light. Actually, the system is less efficient on a hot day since all of the equipment heats up. Although the panels get warm even in states with snow, the snow melts.
Will my business be affected if I install a solar system and stay connected to utilities?
Businesses with solar systems which meet all utility standards and policies are eligible for utility connections. When the business is connected to the grid, excess electricity generated by the system gets transferred to the utility grid.
What is a “grid-tied” solar system?
The public utility grid is connected to grid-tied solar systems. Power is generated by the system for households and businesses and transferred to the utility grid. The utility company pays for excess electricity generated by the system owner via net metering.
What are the tax credits or any other incentives to go solar?
In the U.S., ITCs are payable for eligible residential and commercial solar systems worth up to 30%. During 2021, the tax credit will be reduced to 8%. State and local governments may be offering additional incentives depending on where you live. Always helps to check incase of any changes.
Does my solar system work well in cloudy weather or at night?
In order for solar panels to produce electricity, they must be exposed to sunlight. Therefore, solar panels will produce less electricity on overcast days than on clear, sunny days. A solar panel's output is zero during the night.
Can I still get a system if I rent my building?
A building owner needs to give approval and become a part of the process to install a solar system. A lot of tenancy agreements mention installing solar panels. Owner may ask the renter for assistance in paying for the system. Even though higher utility charges might still be involved, this can be a less expensive option.
Will I need a battery?
Battery technology available now is prone to malfunction and can increase the cost of a solar system by twofold. In the present, the market has smartphones that aren't even enough for a home; however, battery technology is surging and commercial battery-backed projects aren't that far off.
Will a commercial solar power system save my organization money?
The way to get useful answers to this question is to reveal precisely how much you expect to save in the long term -- for example, over the next 20 years. In addition to being environmentally friendly and lasting for decades, solar is a significant advantage to businesses when it comes to protecting their business from turbulent and generally rising fuel prices. The savings from solar systems typically do not become apparent until several years after they are installed. Typically, there is no upfront cost for leases or power purchase agreements (PPAs), meaning you can start saving money right away.
Get estimates from solar providers on the different types of solar technologies. Quality panels will provide a better return on investment than lower quality panels, even though they cost more and might require a slightly higher lease or PPA. In evaluating the performance, durability, useful life, and efficiency of commercial solar panels, factors such as the yield you can expect for your investment are important.
Can I reduce my utility bill in any other way?
If you own a business, you are guaranteed to cut down on utility bills by replacing your lighting with energy-efficient versions. Keep electronics off and avoid energy vampires. The clock still uses power to run even when the computer is on standby; specialists can conduct an energy audit to reduce electricity costs and generate savings for businesses.
Can my commercial solar system be maintained and operated by someone else?
The return on investment of solar energy should last for decades. While the quality solar installation is usually trouble-free, it does require periodic cleaning, ongoing monitoring, and possible repairs to maintain optimal performance over time. You can choose to maintain the system yourself or partner with another company to have it monitored and maintained at peak efficiency. Most established solar panel cleaning companies use robots or human panel cleaners, but their services tend to vary widely based on system size and complexity. They can also offer performance monitoring, reporting, as-needed repair and parts replacement so you don’t have to worry about your solar system at all.
Which panels did you choose for your own business and why?
It is best to listen to the dealer's response to this question. When a person who lives and breathes solar all day, every day, honestly answers, you will gain a better understanding of what they really think about solar panels on the market-including price, quality, and long-term payoff potential.
The early stages of exploring solar as an option for your business require you to learn a multitude of things about commercial solar power systems. It is easy to build good business decision-making by asking the right questions and pressing for unbiased answers.
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