February 19, 2017

Commercial solar and renewable energy systems .

This will be series of emails on all the different components involved in building your commercial solar systems. This first email will be a complete overview of what to consider when thinking about solar. We will cover how to install solar even if you are just leasing your building.

Commercial solar systems, if done right, can increase your bottom line and help you take control of your business outgoings. There are a few different commercial systems, and depending on your business, will depend on which set up is best for you.

The first thing to do before even considering installing solar is understanding your power consumption, and when your business uses it's loads. Understanding this will help you get the best system for your situation. As with anything, the lowest cost system upfront is not always the lowest cost in the long run. Sizing your system to your load is crucial, as having a system that is too small will take a long time to get your investment back- the same with a system that is too large.

Understanding your load as a business can be very simple or very complicated. The first time I saw a business energy account I decided to do a course afterwards, just to understand it. Larger loads are complicated and it's a real science of what the power companies go through on a daily basis to keep your base load supplied.

The main thing to understand when going solar is to figure out what your hourly usage is, and at what times of the day. Some businesses might be lucky enough to have peak usage in the middle of the day, when your peak production is happening, or you might have peak usages early morning or late afternoon. A simple device can be installed to give you this data. If you are not confident, there are professionals out there who can do all this for you. It is well worth the investment, as finding out down the track your system is not the correct size can cost you a lot more.

Once you have established a base load, and understand your usage, you will have a better understanding of getting the right system. For example, if you have a high load in the morning and afternoon, you might be better off having an east west system, or battery storage. An east west system is where you have two sets of solar panels, one set faces east for peak production in the morning and the second set faces west for peak production in the afternoon.Your roof will also be a factor in this.

Having the correct solar system set up in your business and designed to work with your usage can eliminate your usage. The reason most residential homes do not get the full advantage of solar is because most homeowners are not at home to take advantage of the production of the solar power during the day. This is the reason that installing a solar system at home without battery storage is majority of the time a waste of time.

Another important consideration is building your system that it is expandable. For example if you install an inverter that is not compatible to adding batteries in the future, or adding more panels, you will be stuck in the future in replacing an inverter- which could have been avoided if it was considered in the initial plans.

Don’t forget about a wind turbine!

Wind turbines can be one of the quickest ways a recovering your return on your investment into renewable energies. Depending on your location and situation, it could be as fast as 3 months. Researching a wind turbine is simple. You can have a basic weather station installed to record the data in your area. Looking at the weather history in your area can give you a starting point. If you have your own weather station you can get accurate data for your site.

Choosing quality products.

For most businesses the biggest cost to the business is down time. Installing poor quality products can cost you more in the future, with your business not being able to operate and do business, than planning and installing quality products in the first place. Understanding what is quality in the industry is hard- not many of us know who are the well known brands. They are not normal household names like Mercedes, BMW, Toyota or Ford that we all know in the automotive industry, and we all have our different opinions when it comes to a quality car.

Most of the time when it comes to solar we are trusting that sales reps we talk to are selling us quality products. The companies with the largest marketing budgets normally have the best presence of the web. I will cover some top selling products and some good quality products that are not sold that often and are great products.

 If there is one thing you take out of this, I hope it's this: Educate yourself to make the best decision you possibly can before installing a system. Renewable energy is the future, and if done correctly, will change the way you do business for ever.