Solar Energy is no longer the red-headed stepchild it once was. Thanks to changes in both social opinions and renewable tech, solar energy is emerging as a very popular option for businesses and individuals. Businesses in particular profit from solar power because consumers appreciate companies that care. As ‘going green’ is the popular mandate of the time a savvy business can cut costs while looking good doing it. If you happen to be a company deciding whether or not to install some solar panels, here are the main advantages and disadvantages of going a little green.
Advantage – Its Renewable
Solar Power’s main advantage has been the same since its first introduction. It is a renewable source of energy. No matter where you are on the globe there is always sunshine. The sun is a power source that will not extinguish for at least 5 billion years. So solar power will always be available and accessible.
Advantage – It Reduces Your Electric Bill
The main reason why most companies choose solar energy is to save money. Solar power supplants normal power usage which causes monthly bills to plummet. This number is either slight or significant depending on the size of your grid.
Advantage – It Saves Operational Costs
Having solar power means your day to day operations will ultimately cost less as part of the power is supplemented. However, as solar panels do not require much maintenance you also save on the operation of the panels themselves. Running them day to day does not cost a lot of manpower and the upkeep is almost non-existent. Solar energy can also be used to generate heat. This means that depending on your setup you can even supplant heating costs during the winter.
Advantage – Tech is Advancing
Solar power technology is getting a lot of love and attention at present. This is good as such focus will affect both price and efficiency. The better the panels become the more power they will collect. This will influence how much money they ultimately save. As better tech is perfected the cost of installation will also go down. At present, a wide field of panels is required to draw energy. This is one of solar energy’s disadvantages. Better tech will lead to a smaller amount of panels being needed. This means smaller grids and lower overall price. Additionally, advancing tech is also finding better way to conduct solar power. At present solar collecting windows are being marketed that draw energy from outside heat.
Advantage – It Offers a Return of Investment
From a business perspective solar power provides a return of investment. First of all, once you pay for the panels, accessories, and installation you are done with cost. There is no rotating monthly power bill. You will have to pay for maintenance from time to time but that is about it. Secondly, once the panels are turned on solar energy pays for itself. The money you save on your regular power bill eventually surpasses the initial cost of installation. Finally, there are tax breaks and other incentives that your business becomes qualified for.
Advantage – It Makes You Look Good
Using solar energy labels any company a ‘green’ business and in today’s world that is a very fine moniker to have. Environmentally conscious companies entice more business this is proven fact. It is the reason why water bottle companies tout a renewable water source and make their bottles less pollutant. By choosing solar power you join the fight against global warming and gain great PR.
Disadvantage – It Is Limited
Solar energy is not available at night. This is a given as the sun goes down at night. Still, for many, this seems to be where they put in the fine print. Because despite the large cost you cannot use your panels 24/7, and they also can be affected by the weather. A good cloudy day can significantly reduce the amount of power those panels pull in. You can save excess energy in large batteries which extend panel service into nighttime hours, but these batteries are expensive and also limited.
Disadvantage – Cost
The main setback of installing solar panels is that it is not a cheap enterprise. As aforementioned, the money you save on power eventually pays back what you spend installing the unit. Unfortunately, the money you spend on the unit may be a dealbreaker. Solar energy cost is very high at present. This cost includes wiring, batteries, inverters, the panels themselves, and installation. If your company can get beyond that cost eventually the money will filter back, but the initial price may be too high for many businesses to afford. Especially, if said companies require a wealth of panels.
Disadvantage – Efficiency is still Developing
At present solar panels can convert around 22% of sunlight into usable energy. Any impact on a monthly power bill requires a wide field of panels to produce. This is ultimately what skyrockets the price of solar power. It also makes many people question whether solar energy is really worth it. Recent advances in technology do promise that efficiency will go up but at present the overall output of solar power leaves something to be desired.
Disadvantage – It Takes Up Space
In order for grids to pull in the amount of energy necessary to impact cost they have to be sizable. This is why many companies that use solar panels find an inventive way to place them. They create a grid over parking lots or cover every inch of roof space. If you are a smaller company this is a significant disadvantage as your grid will not be big enough to pull in impactful power. The size of the grid also influences cost and maintenance. The panels will still require a small amount of attention but upkeep will be increased by the sheer volume.