It has been forecast that by 2026, the global renewable power capacity will rise by more than 60% of what it was in 2020, measuring at around 4800 GW.
While all renewable energy sources are promising candidates for the future of power generation, solar panel systems appear to be the most preferred method due to their many advantages. This is evident by numerous studies; for instance, estimates show that around 95% of the global electricity generation capacity increment will be made through renewable sources, with solar accounting for more than half of it.
This widespread embracing of solar has led to exceptional developments in solar technology. More efficient manufacturing processes coupled with numerous incentives offered by the government have helped lower the cost of residential and commercial solar panel systems by as much as 70% in the last decade. This has directly resulted in a boom in the solar industry in the US, with there being over 10,000 different solar companies in the country having a total of more than 230,000 workers.
While residential property owners have immensely contributed to this massive shift towards solar and will continue to do so in the future, they aren’t the only ones taking part in this noble and innovative coalition. The benefits of solar energy have been widely acknowledged by many popular large-scale businesses who have joined in on this movement towards solar. Nearly 3.5% of all commercial buildings in the US have commercial solar panel systems.
Furthermore, around 70% of the commercial buildings in the US still draw their energy from their local utility, meaning that solar panels for businesses still have a largely untapped market. Following are some business giants that have gone solar in the past few years:
Commercial Solar Panel Systems – 6 Business Giants That Have Gone Solar
Target Corporation, more commonly referred to as just Target, is a popular merchandise retailing business that sells its products through its digital channels and numerous physical stores throughout the country. Its offerings include grocery items, food assortments, electronics, clothing, toys and much more! In 2017, Target added more than 40 MW of solar capacity to its existing commercial solar panel systems bringing it to a total of 203.5 MW of solar capacity.
Walmart is perhaps Target Corporation’s biggest competitor being another giant in the retail business. Walmart has, in total, over 10,000 stores, websites, and clubs across the world in 24 different countries, including Canada, Africa, China, India, and many more, and runs its business through digital mediums.
The giant is engaged in wholesale, retail, and ecommerce business, offering a large variety of product categories through its stores and channels, including clothing, electronics, cosmetics, and more. With 149.4 MW of solar capacity, the business giant takes the second position in SEIA’s list. Walmart aims to reduce 1-billion metric tons of emissions throughout its value chain by 2030.
A real estate investment trust (REIT) business that is engaged in the development, acquisition, ownership, and management of real estate logistics. The company has installed solar panels for businesses worth 120.7 MW of solar capacity.
The tech giant needs no introduction. Apple Inc. designs, produces, and markets tablets, laptops, personal computers, smartphones, smartwatches, and Airpods. The company’s portfolio gradually expands every few years, and in 2018, Apple became the world’s first $3 trillion company.
The company has 79.4 MW of solar capacity installed throughout the range of its facilities and in 2018 claimed to power its global facilities using 100% renewable energy.
Kohl’s Corporation, often just called Kohl’s, is a department store operator. The company owns and operates 1,162 physical stores, 12 FILA units, as well as a website. Kohl’s sells national and private brand clothes, footwear, accessories, cosmetics, and home products through its shops and website.
The departmental store giant has a total of 51.5 MW worth of solar capacity installed. Moreover, the business giant claims to recycle nearly 150,000 tons of waste material each year which accounts for over 80% of its annual waste.
How Long Does a Commercial Solar Project Take?
The installation of the panels only takes 1 to 3 weeks. However, other steps in the installation can stretch the process over the span of a few months. Small commercial solar projects, on average, take 4 months to complete. Following are some of the main steps in a commercial solar project.
- Carrying Out a Site Assessment (1-2 weeks)
The installation site and project feasibility are evaluated and the meeting of legal requirements is reviewed.
- Securing a Local Permit for the Project (2-8 weeks)
Permission from the relevant authorities is secured, and applications for incentives are filed.
- Designing the System and Planning the Installation (1-2 weeks)
The system will be designed using CAD software, and the construction plan will be finalized.
- Installation (2-3 weeks)
The installation of the system takes place, which includes laying the wiring, mounting the panels, and connecting the inverter and batteries.
- Inspection (1 week)
A final inspection is carried out to ensure that no regulations are breached and that the system operates properly.
Benefits of Commercial Solar Panel Systems
GO GREEN with Renewable Energy
Conventional power plants produce electricity using either fossil fuels or nuclear energy. The enormous amounts of carbon emissions released from thermal power plants have and still are severely harming the environment. Many habitats have been destroyed, forest fires have become more frequent, and abnormal climate shifts have occurred due to these emissions. Additionally, the nuclear waste from nuclear power plants is hazardous to the health of humans, animals, plants, and all other living matter.
By going solar, you can help substantially cut down the carbon emissions, even more so if you’re a business that operates through multiple facilities releasing large amounts of carbon pollutants into the atmosphere. This will help offset the dominance of carbon emissions, allowing the environment to better regulate the carbon content in the atmosphere and heal itself.
Attract Environmentally Conscious Residents, Employees and Clients
The importance of preserving the environment and reducing carbon imprints, as well as the use of non-renewable energy sources, is growing with each passing generation. Installing solar panels can help you attract customers, clients, residents, and representatives who are environmentally conscious and want to do business with or work for companies that value the planet’s well-being by reducing their reliance on non-sustainable power sources.
It can particularly assist you in growing your business by reaching environmental goals and partnering with worldwide businesses that prioritize such initiatives. Additionally, obtaining certifications from environmentalist organizations will improve your brand image and value.
Avoid Power Outages
When your facility operations are completely reliant on the municipal power grid, it is completely vulnerable to blackouts. When the electricity goes out due to a fault in the grid, a storm, or scheduled grid maintenance, your facilities also lose power.
However, if you have a self-sustaining commercial solar panel system with a battery for power storage and use, your spaces will not be without power during a local blackout. As long as the sun is shining and your battery backup is functioning properly, your panels will continue to provide electricity to your structure’s electrical infrastructure.
Reduce Operating Expenses
Regardless of whether or not your commercial solar system consists of a battery, you’ll surely have your utility bills go down. An on-grid system can help you save on utility bills in two ways. Firstly, the power produced by your system means that you’ll be drawing in less power from your utility, lowering your grid-sourced power consumption and hence the utility bill.
This becomes even more favorable if you completely shift to your commercial solar system during the on-peak hours, thereby cutting down your utility consumption to zero when the electricity rates are at their highest during the day. Secondly, any excess power generated by your system can be sold to the grid to further lower your utility bill.
Seeing as how businesses and corporate spaces have quite a heavy power consumption, going solar can considerably lower their operating cost, thereby improving your profitability, especially for large manufacturing facilities that operate heavy power-draining machinery.
Enhanced Property Value
If you plan to sell your business, a portion of your multi-unit private property, or factory in the future, solar panels can raise the value of your property and help it sell faster and for a better deal. It is solely because energy efficiency and productivity are valued.
When potential buyers see that your property can sustain its own electrical load or even just a portion of it, they will realize and acknowledge the fact that the operating cost of the property will be lower than for equally sized non-solar properties. This will inadvertently raise the market value of your property.
Better Control of Your Operating Cost
Electricity costs tend to change very often, following only an upward trend. However, with much of your energy needs being fulfilled by your own commercial solar panel system, your dependence on your municipal utility will be much less.
What this essentially means is that an increment in the cost of electricity will not affect your operating cost by much as it would without solar. This gives you better control over your operating cost allowing you to keep your net expense nearly steady and consistent while that of your non-solar competitors rises along with the cost of utility.
Longevity and Low Maintenance
The average lifespan of solar panels ranges between 25 to 30 years. This means that commercial solar panel systems far outlive their payback period, ensuring you a predictable and reliable energy output for an extended period of time.
Additionally, commercial solar panel systems, in general, do not have any moving parts. Therefore, you do not have to trouble yourself with complex and expensive maintenance procedures, as you would with a wind for example.
However, you will still need to schedule periodic checkups with your solar company to ensure that the electronic equipment in the panels such as the diodes and solar cells are functioning properly. Weekly cleanups of the solar panels coupled with a semi-annually or annually company checkups would be all the maintenance you would need.
Of course, the frequency of cleaning may vary depending on the weather and your location. Overall, a prolonged lifespan combined with easy-to-maintain nature makes solar a very cost-effective and feasible approach to renewable energy. Even more so if you are located in a place with an abundance of sunny days, as is the case for most of California.
Solar for Small Businesses – Is It Feasible?
There isn’t one right answer to this question. Whether or not solar for small businesses is a viable option or not depends on the type of business, their power consumption, and their location. Many businesses and commercial spaces across the US don’t spend enough on electricity to make solar a worthwhile investment.
According to Forbes, nearly 25% of commercial spaces and buildings in the US are not suitable for solar due to their low power consumption. However, if your business does use up a lot of power and is located in a sunny-majority area, solar might be a promising option for you. To know for sure, get in touch with a professional solar company that deals in solar panels for businesses and get your property evaluated.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is it possible to repair solar panels?
Whether or not a solar panel can be repaired depends on the issue. Problems such as potential induced degradation (PID) effect or loose wiring can be fixed at hand. However, severely damaged panels usually require replacement.
What is the lifespan of a commercial solar panel?
The industry standard lifespan ranges between 25 to 30 years.
What does a solar panel technician do?
A solar panel technician, also known as a solar energy technician, is responsible for many tasks, including installing and maintaining solar panels, choosing and configuring the installation site, performing tests and troubleshooting the system, taking measurements, and designing a system. These people work in residential and commercial facilities.
How much does it cost to replace an inverter?
On average, inverters usually cost around 6% of the total installation cost. Therefore, for a small 25 KW t system, an inverter replacement should cost around $3,012.
How do you repair a solar panel diode?
Diodes cannot be repaired. Instead, you will need to open the junction box at the back of the panels and replace the faulty diodes with new ones.
Will a broken solar panel work?
If only the glass of the panel is broken, then the panel will still work just fine. However, the cracked glass may block out some light reducing the output of the panel. Also, it might allow moisture to seep inside the panel damaging the internals.
Why do solar panels stop working?
According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the main reasons for failure for a solar panel are thermal cycling, which degrades the panel’s internals, humidity freeze, damp heat, and exposure to UV radiation.
How long should a solar panel inverter last?
Solar inverters, on average, have an estimated life of 10 years, but under good care, they might last you much longer than that.
How much does a 5kW inverter cost?
A typical 5 KW inverter can start from as little as $750 and can go up to $1,700 as browse into the more premium products.
Solar panel systems are the future of power generation. Installing commercial solar panel systems offers businesses numerous advantages as discussed above. While the initial cost of the system may be a bit hefty, the system definitely compensates for the cost by improving your brand image and lowering your utility bill. However, to know for sure if solar panels for businesses is a good option for you, consult with a professional to analyze your particular case. The team at Solar Medix are ready to answer your questions and give you a no-obligation price quote. Feel free to call us at 732-785-4814 or book a consultation online. And we’ll get in touch within 24 hours.