Guide for beginners to use residential and commercial solar power

Introduction

What is solar power?

Solar power is a form of renewable and sustainable energy that is harnessed directly from the sun. It is a green source of energy and remarkably eco-friendly as it does not leave behind any by-products or a huge carbon footprint. Currently, with the rising demands of energy over the globe and limited supply, people are keen on switching towards independent sources of clean energy. Solar power is at the forefront.

Solar energy is harnessed from the sun with the help of PV (photovoltaic) panels. You might have noticed large, mirror-like panels on roof-tops, mounted on the ground, portable devices and also international space crafts. The panels heat up in the sunlight to act as conductors, which help convert this heat into electricity.

At an industrial level, solar thermal plants harness the energy and heat water which on boiling produces steam that powers steam turbines. The supply via these power plants is done on a commercial scale. Commercial solar power is still affordable as compared to the surging electricity bills.

Now that you know a little about solar power, let’s understand the benefits of residential and commercial solar panel systems.

Benefits of residential and commercial solar power in Brisbane and beyond:

1) There are no energy production costs

Solar power systems are quite independent. After their installation is done, they are good to go. Apart from regular manual maintenance and annual check-ups, there are no additional repair or maintenance costs associated with the same. It doesn’t take anything apart from the system for the energy production to go on.

Your roof-top setup makes the best of the daytime sunlight and can power your place even during the night. An investment that is worth making and the payback period is quite feasible.

2) The process of solar panel installation is easy

You don’t need separate spaces for getting residential or commercial solar power systems set up. They can be fixed both vertically and horizontally as per your requirement. Solar power systems are also portable which means that if you plan on powering up your RV during camping, you’re good to go.

The cost of installing electrical distribution lines is quite hefty and hence not preferred. Also, you can expand your system after installation depending on your energy requirement. The solar systems are versatile and flexible.

3) The energy production and time of maximum demand coincide

We need most of our electricity during the morning and daytime. The peak is somewhere between 11 am and 4 pm. The solar systems are used to constantly producing energy as soon as they are in contact with sunlight and during the daytime, they function optimally. Another win for team green energy.

Also, during long-distance transportation, some energy is lost. Not enough to affect in a significant manner but that does have an impact on the performance. You can reduce the loss of energy during transit by opting for commercial solar power for your workplace.

4) It makes a positive impact on the environment

While gas-guzzling generators also create quite the noise, you can see a significant reduction in that department by installing solar systems. They reduce noise pollution, do not contribute towards air pollution and also have no solid waste by-product. These panels are designed in a manner to withstand extreme weather conditions. They can easily help you get through blackouts and power outages if you have a solar battery in place.

Also, your rooftop solar systems are secure against power grid overloads and fires caused in the transformer substations.  

5) It is a financially viable and good investment

You not only save money but also can generate some via net metering and other practices. Sell your extra solar power to local companies and make the most of your residential or commercial solar power in Brisbane. It is possible to save between $10k and $30k over the lifetime of your commercial solar panel system. You also receive tax incentives and rebates. The value of your property increases too because of solar system installation.

The degradation of the panels happens at 0.5% on average which comes to an 88% efficiency after using it for more than 2 decades. They have longer warranties and shorter payback periods. You can also get a community solar panel installed by a third party and then subscribe to the service.

The energy costs are much low as compared to your grid power supply. If you have a business then opting for a commercial solar panel system is a step in the right direction. It keeps you ahead of the competition, reduces electricity costs, gives 24/7/365 power backup and brings in good PR too.

Let’s take a look at the major differences between residential and commercial solar panel systems. Key differences between residential and commercial solar panel systems are as follows:

1) The difference in size

One of the main noticeable differences between these 2 systems is the size. While an average residential system is 65 inches by 39 inches by 72 cells in size, a commercial system is 78 inches by 39 by 96 cells. You can make multiple adjustments to your solar panel systems by adding more panels depending on your requirement. The bigger the number and size of the panels, the more solar power they produce.

2) The installation of solar panels

The system for installation is quite similar for both panels. However, you can get the commercial solar panel system installation done on a flat roof with a non-penetrating ballasted mounting system. For residential systems, you need to get the panels aligned well on the roof and shingles and that might take a little more time.

3) Energy production and operating efficiency

The more the number of cells in a panel, the more energy it will produce. As commercial solar panels are larger as compared to residential solar systems they produce more energy. Also, the commercial solar panels are more efficient at 19.6% as compared to solar panels at 18.1%. To decide on the type of solar system you should opt for an expert consultation.

4) Commercial solar power is more versatile

While many businesses are shifting to independent solar panels, they are getting quite creative with the setup. Right from ground-mounted to rooftop panels and then there are solar panelled parking lots and whatnot. When it comes to a residential setup you need a NOC from your society building or your community. This involves a lot of restrictions and only conventional choices like roof-top or mounting on the ground depending on space availability.  

Also, residential solar panels are black for camouflaging against the rooftop while commercial panels are white, silver or black depending on their functionality and not just aesthetics. Apart from key differences in functionality and costing, the difference between the panels is limited.

All you need to do before deciding on the type of panel is to do an energy evaluation of your place. See the product rating of multiple appliances and how much energy you consume in a month. This will give you a fair idea of what your solar investment should look like.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about commercial solar power

1) Why install solar power for my business with additional costs?

A very commonly asked question. When it comes to solar power, the initial investment is agreeably quite steep but the long-term benefits are many. You reduce costs, are no longer dependent on the grid and also enjoy some tax incentives from the government. It also gives you some good PR as going solar is the stepping stone towards sustainability. Customers do appreciate that.

2) What is net metering?

You can gain money by selling unutilized solar power to local companies. By net metering, you can send back the unutilized power to the grid and gain energy credits. These credits can be sold in the market or used to reduce your electricity bills. The rates for these depend on your location and the current market demand.

3) Should I opt for buying or leasing my commercial solar power system?

You can buy your solar system with the help of a loan and then pay it back in the coming years like your past electricity bills. You own the system and soon will be turning profits around after your loan is repaid. Another way of going solar but not investing in the system is by leasing the panels known as a power purchase agreement (PPA).

A third party installs the system in your space and then you pay them for the electricity used by your business unit. These rates are cheaper as compared to grid power and involve no investment from your end. However, you do not own the system. These agreements are usually 15 to 20 years long. Buying the panels gives you better ROI but not every business has the bandwidth of making steep investments especially in the early stages.

4) Which solar panel should my business install?

As mentioned earlier, you need to calculate your energy requirements and compare them with previous electricity bills. This will give you a fair idea about how much kW/h you need and which type of solar panels will generate that amount of electricity. And just in case your energy requirements increase in the future, you can always expand your solar system and carry on.

5) Should we invest in a solar battery?

Solar batteries help you take another step towards independence from the power grid. You can store the unused power generated here that will help you in case of bad weather, blackouts and whatnot. However, the payback period of solar batteries is about 10 years and so is their life. Depending on your business needs and what type of system you are opting for (on-grid or off-grid), you can make the most of solar batteries.

6) How much warranty do I get?

Solar panels and systems come with a warranty of 15 to 20+ years. It is usually divided into parts where you get parts and maintenance warranty that changes over time. Every component of your solar system has its warranty and if you get it installed by professionals then you enjoy some servicing benefits over time. While the maintenance of the solar panels is quite easy, the repair and replacement costs are on the higher side. It is suggested that you look after your panels well and also get them serviced annually.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about residential solar power systems

1) What factors should I consider before going solar?

The primary factor would be your energy requirement and the weather conditions in your area. If you have been blessed with sunny weather all year round then going solar might be feasible for you.

Also, there are other factors like availability of free space, what your budget looks like and whether your roof can withstand the additional weight. An expert can give you sound advice about the type of solar system setup you should opt for your residential premise.

2) What does the maintenance of solar panels look like?

The maintenance of solar panels is quite simple. You can use a soft sponge and water to clean the panels and remove dust and dirt that accumulates over time. Avoid using harsh cleaners and abrasives. Look into the wiring regularly and make sure that the system does not heat up during the day as this affects its functioning.

These minimal steps will ensure that your system works optimally and you gain maximum power output.

Conclusion: Commercial solar panels do seem a better option in terms of efficiency and output. But the final decision should be made keeping your budget and energy requirement in mind. Get in touch with us today on 1800 789 470 to get an expert opinion and decide what the best way to go forward is.

Author: Harsh Patel

Date: September 28, 2021

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