Business owners often weigh up this question to coincide with their questions regarding overall costs outright of having a system installed. ‘How many solar panels do I need to power my business’ comes up a lot in talks with our clients.
How you can determine the amount of commercial solar panels required will relate to how your business operates and its power usage. A medium-sized business for example can use upwards of 25,000 kWh of electricity in a year, which approximates around a daily use of 70 kWh. With that estimate, you will need to know some extra factors such as how much panels can generate and their efficiency in design, as well as the peak sunlight that your business sees on a regular day.
The Unconsidered Factors
Of course, these are just numbers, and a calculator may give you a ballpark figure but it won’t know about all the specialist factors that need to be taken into consideration. You can calculate what your daily needs would be on average, but there are plenty of situations and circumstances that are not average.
You will need to look at periods within your year that you may experience certain spikes in energy usage due to busier workloads, such as warehouses in the Christmas season or Universities during term times. You would also have to consider whether taller buildings around you block out the sun during the morning or late afternoon. These are just things that can easily be missed out on calculations, and why discussing the situation with a professional can provide you with clarity and solutions.
Do Your Homework
No doubt as a business owner reading this you already have an interest in commercial solar and what your requirement would be, and whilst talking with a professional body is always going to be required there is plenty to think about and bring into the conversation.
For starters, you could ask your utility company to provide you with information regarding your usage and pinpoint where potential daily spikes in usage are common.
This could be very useful in determining the number of panels you may require, as it could be a case where a solar battery storage system can level out demand and lower commercial electricity demand charges. Having that knowledge when meeting with a consultant goes a long way to identifying the solution, but also having an objective in hand is going to aid the transition. If your focus is on reducing your utility bills by half or even completely moving off the grid with your system, then that is going to be a dramatic difference in the number of panels required. You may also want to take advantage of financial gain by being able to send unused solar energy back to the grid.
Whilst many businesses opt for a rooftop solar design, it is not the only option you have. There may be factors that are beneficial or detrimental towards it.
Sure, a rooftop system is great for businesses to publicly display their commitment to renewable energy, but businesses can also utilise solar on the side of the building or a ground-level also, so you are not limited if your roof is shaded or smaller.
Calculating how many commercial solar panels your business requires is all about understanding your specific needs, goals and usage. It requires asking more questions about how your business operates and how it wants to operate, and in discussing the needs and operation of your business with commercial solar specialists you can be assured that the transformation of your business to green energy usage is calculated correctly.