Pros and Cons for Installing Solar Panels at Your Facility

Categories Business Tips

There are many powerful reasons to consider solar power at your facility. However, it is just as important to be aware of the potential negatives of switching to solar energy.

Despite the fact that solar power is the fastest growing source of sustainable energy worldwide, facility managers must weigh the benefits and drawbacks carefully, and do what is right for their facility.

Pros

Renewable and reliable source of energy

Solar panels only use the energy of the sun to produce energy and can be collected anywhere in the world.

As long as the sun is shining, the panels can collect this sustainable energy and use it to power traditional energy systems.

Save money on energy costs

The primary reason for most facilities and organizations to switch to solar power is to save money. Some estimates project these savings to be hundreds of thousands of dollars over the life span of the solar panels.

No air, water, or noise pollution – Solar panels only use the energy of the sun to produce energy.

No transport of fossil fuels or disposal of waste products is required. It is a clean energy that does not produce any greenhouse gases.

Lower operational and maintenance costs

The solar cells have no moving parts so the maintenance costs are drastically reduced. After the solar panels are installed, the system only requires occasional maintenance to keep the panels clean and to check the circuit system.

Long life span

The life expectancy of a solar panel can be up to 25 years or longer.

Experts agree that solar panels should produce 92% of its original power after 20 years and the degradation rate for solar panels manufactured after the year 2000 should be less than 0.4% per year.

Cons

Costly capital investment

The initial costs of installing solar panels can be very high.

Although the solar panels offer a high return of investment because of the enormous amounts of free energy it can produce, the cost of the panels and storage battery can be cost prohibitive for some.

Time and weather dependent

For obvious reasons, solar panels are only able to collect energy during the day and not at night.

Also, the amount of energy they collect during the day is also dependent on the season and the presence of cloud formations.

Too much space

The amount of solar energy you can produce is dependent on the number of panels you have.

Higher energy needs of a facility will require more panels to be set up to capture the needed energy which in turn will require more roof space.

Heavy panels

Solar panels can be heavy and exert a weight about 2 to 4 pounds per square foot.

Roof infrastructure needs to be intact and strong to support the weight of these solar panels as well as to support spot loads (ex. wind gusts tearing at the panels, snow on the panels and roofs)

Inefficient solar conversion

The efficiency of converting solar energy into electrical energy is estimated to be around 22%. In order to produce adequate electricity, larger areas are needed to capture more sunlight.

References:

Creating “Better Buildings” With Solar Energy

http://controlyourbuilding.com/blog/entry/solar-power-and-facilities-managers-how-to-pitch-your-budget

http://www.facilitiesnet.com/energyefficiency/tip/Solar-Power-FastestGrowing-Energy-Source–40232

http://energyinformative.org/solar-energy-pros-and-cons/

https://www.greenmatch.co.uk/blog/2014/08/5-advantages-and-5-disadvantages-of-solar-energy

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