Converting to a solar power system probably seems like a pricey initial investment. In the long run, it can be a cost-effective alternative to traditional power. Not only can it reduce your business's utility bills, but it could also give you a marketing edge. Studies suggest that most commercial property owner could reduce overall energy costs by as much as 75 percent! There are even incentives still available for going solar for a business.
What are the Benefits?
Most businesses are able to pay off the cost of solar panels and installation within three to seven years. The lifetime of a solar system is usually 25 to 35 years. That is a lot of savings in the long run.
After installing a solar energy system, you can claim a Federal tax credit equal to 30 percent of the cost of the system. Your business can also offset some of the upfront costs by deducting 85 percent of your solar investment in the first year.
Typically, solar energy systems require little to no maintenance because there are no moving parts. Solar is good for the environment and good for your reputation. Reducing your carbon footprint and environmental impact is not only positive for the greater good of the world, but it creates a positive public statement as well.
Is It Right for Your Business?
Although the many advantages are often touted when it comes to renewable energy sources, there are also disadvantages. When considering going solar, make sure you look at the whole picture. Here are some advantages as well as disadvantages of going solar.
● Sustainability and environmentally friendly
● Low maintenance
● Cost saving
● Long-term commitment to see savings
● Total benefits dependent on location
● High up-front costs
Solar is one of the fastest growing energy sources. The idea is simple: you install silicone panels that capture the sun's rays and provide energy to power your business. But, what does it take to really go solar?
Well, you start out with the basics. Call a local solar company. Do some research to make sure you are choosing a reliable company. Usually, a representative will be sent to your business to assess the situation. They will do a preliminary inspection and discuss your current and future energy needs. They will get a breakdown of your load profile to determine how much energy you use and when peak usage occurs. At this stage, they may be able to tell you whether solar is a viable option.
After the inspections, an audit will be performed. This is a deeper look at how to take your business solar. They will look at sun exposure, connection to the local utility grid, current electrical system, and roof conditions. They will determine what setup will work best.
The solar company will then design a solar system for your business. It will show the position and number of panels required. It will also provide an overview of what new equipment upgrades may be necessary. The solar company will discuss the designs with you and make any necessary changes. Once these designs are approved, construction will begin. This phase could take from six months to a year, but your business will be run on the power of the sun.
There are a couple of types of solar energy production that can be harmful to birds and wildlife. Concentrating solar plants that use towers of mirrors that can be rotated to track the sun and reflect the sunlight to boilers at the tops of other towers create superheated steam that can be deadly to the birds, bats, and insects that might fly through them.
Large photovoltaic projects can also be hazardous to migrating birds. Birds, particularly water birds, often mistake these large solar fields for lakes. Collisions with the panels can cause fatal injuries, and some water birds have trouble taking flight from non-water surfaces and become stranded.
When planning your conversion to solar, consider these possible impacts. Don't potentially undermine your green project. Try to devise a plan with your solar company that works in concert with the ecosystem.
If going solar is not a viable option for your business or the initial investment is cost prohibitive, there are other green options available. Consider switching to eco-friendly lighting. This can lower your carbon footprint by reducing your energy consumption. Some businesses install solar-powered lights for parking areas and outdoor lighting.
Find ways to be more energy efficient. These include ways of going green that you can incorporate in your business whether using solar or not. Use LED or compact fluorescent (CFL) lights. When updating appliance, choose energy-efficient models. Get an energy audit. Some states will perform these for free. Do the repairs suggested. You may even be able to purchase "green power" from your energy provider.
There are many benefits to going green these days. Harnessing the energy of the sun is a great way to help the environment, cut utility costs, and market yourself as a green company. Becoming an eco-conscious business can save you thousands of dollars or more in the long run. Solar panels are a smart investment for businesses. Evaluate what makes sense for your business and give solar a chance.
About the Author: Hi! I am Josy O’Donnel, and I am the creator of Conservation Institute. While completing my bachelors degree, I developed an interest in the study of Earth’s future and the conservation of Earth’s natural resources. Years after, I am still immersed in these subjects. I want to share my passion with an online community of people who are devoted spreading awareness and attention to the most pressing threats to the diversity of life on Earth.