Every commercial job in Solar has Permitting Challenges.

Permitting can be a complex process with various regulations and requirements to be met. Such challenges may include obtaining multiple permits, meeting zoning regulations, and navigating local and state codes. Additionally, financial and technical hurdles such as the cost of installation, the availability of funding, and the complexity of the technology can also be a challenge. To overcome these challenges, it is important to have an understanding of the permitting process, understand zoning regulations, and explore potential funding sources. Collaborating with local officials and organizations such as solar-energy associations can also be beneficial when dealing with permitting challenges.

 Gordian Energy Systems will navigate the process and challenges for you. Untie the Gordian Knot on solar projects.

Having a strong O&M provider can help minimize the potential for damage

When severe weather hits, it can potentially cause damage to solar PV systems. All solar systems are designed and engineered to withstand high wind events. Over the lifetime of a system, equipment can loosen or wear out. Performing annual or routine maintenance checks can help ensure all racking components are torqued to specification. Having a strong O&M provider can help minimize the potential for damage while maximizing your system’s lifespan. In addition, an intelligent system owner will inspect their system before or after storms to ensure equipment has not shifted.

Why should you choose rooftop solar for your commercial facility?

Whether or not to buy rooftop solar for your commercial facility depends on various factors, such as your energy needs, budget, and long-term goals. Here are some points to consider when making your decision:

Reasons to invest in rooftop solar for your commercial facility:

  1. Cost Savings: If your commercial facility has high energy usage, solar panels can help you save money on electricity bills by generating your own clean energy and reducing reliance on the grid. Additionally, commercial solar systems are eligible for tax credits, incentives, and other financial benefits that can reduce the overall cost of the installation.
  2. Sustainability: By investing in rooftop solar, you can demonstrate your commitment to sustainability and corporate social responsibility. This can help improve your brand reputation and attract environmentally conscious customers.
  3. Energy Independence: With rooftop solar, you can generate your own clean energy, making your business less reliant on the grid. This can provide you with energy security during power outages and help reduce your carbon footprint.

Net Metering, Grid Dependency, and Battery Systems in Commercial Solar Deployments

Introduction:

The deployment of solar arrays in commercial environments has gained significant traction due to their environmental and economic benefits. There are some common misconceptions regarding the concepts of net metering, the role of solar arrays during power outages, and the use of battery systems to maintain business operations. This article aims to help clarify these topics, providing an overview of net metering and utilizing battery systems for backup power.

Net Metering:

Net metering happens when the power coming from the solar array is routed behind the meter and directly into the main distribution panel.  If a solar array produces more electricity than required, that surplus energy is sent back to the grid which “spins” the electricity meter backward. The business then receives credit for the excess electricity, which can be used to offset their future electricity consumption.

Grid Dependency and Solar Arrays:

Being grid-tied is part of a net metering array’s design.  During power outages, these grid-tied solar arrays shut down automatically for safety reasons.  In fact, the array must sense power from the grid for the array to turn back on after an outage – known as anti-islanding protection.  It would be dangerous to the utility workers attempting repairs if a grid-tied solar array continued producing electricity and pushed any excess power back to the grid.

Battery Systems for Backup Power:

To ensure uninterrupted business operations during power outages, a battery storage system can be integrated with a solar array.  Systems using batteries require special inverters that prevent islanding & pushing of excess electricity to the grid when the power goes out.  It is important to decide on incorporating a battery storage system early in the solar array design process, as it drives the overall design of the solar energy system.

When the grid is functioning correctly, excess solar-generated electricity charges the battery system and, once it is full, that energy flows back out to the grid. This stored energy can then be utilized in several different ways.

  1. As Backup Power: Businesses can continue to operate critical equipment and maintain essential services even when the grid is down. This ensures minimal disruption to operations and mitigates financial losses associated with power outages.  The key is designating which circuits are protected by the battery backup when the system is built.  Deciding on the battery system size and capacity is dictated by what it is protecting and how much power is consumed by those protected circuits.
  2. For Load Shifting: Battery systems allow businesses to shift their electricity usage patterns by storing solar energy generated during low-demand periods and utilizing it during peak-demand periods. This can help reduce electricity costs by avoiding high utility rates during peak hours.
  3. As a Demand Response Mechanism: Battery systems can also participate in demand response programs, where businesses reduce their electricity usage during times of high grid demand. By drawing power from the battery system instead of the grid during peak hours, businesses contribute to grid stability and may receive financial incentives.

In summary, solar arrays, combined with battery backup systems, can enhance a business’s energy resilience, reduce their reliance on the grid, and take advantage of cost-saving opportunities such as load shifting and participation in demand response programs. The combination of solar arrays, net metering, and battery systems represents a powerful solution for commercial entities aiming to achieve sustainable energy practices and improved resiliency in the event of a power outage.

Solar panels can be deployed where? The unique future of solar installations.

Solar panels are typically installed on Roofs, commercial warehouses, and farm fields. But what about all the other wasted spaces?  Parking lots are a great open space to put a solar canopy. And parking garages could have a solar canopy on the top floor. Deployment of solar often turns a big open empty space into a money-generating space.

What about other creative spaces? Floating arrays over large bodies of water and lakes; on top of a Tractor-trailer trailer; the future of solar will include thinking about creative spaces to maximize the green energy and to maximize energy savings.

Solar Module Recycling – eliminating waste and creating efficiency

Human Innovation solving long term challenges:

Solar power has become one of the most important sources of renewable energy worldwide, and its popularity continues to grow. The solar panel industry is evolving rapidly, and as a result, the number of solar panels in use has increased dramatically. It is estimated that over 90 million solar panels were installed worldwide in 2021, and this number is expected to grow in the years to come.

As solar panels reach the end of their life cycle, there is a growing need for recycling them in an efficient and environmentally friendly manner. This has led to the development of new technologies that are designed to make solar panel recycling more efficient and cost-effective.

Solar panels are made of various materials, including glass, aluminum, copper, and silicon, which all have different recycling requirements.

The solar industry has made significant progress in developing new technologies to recycle solar panels. In fact, according to the EPA, solar panel recycling has been shown to reduce the environmental impact of solar panel production by up to 90%.

One of the most exciting new technologies in solar panel recycling comes from France. A company called Rhonatec has developed a new recycling process that can recover over 95% of the materials in a solar panel, including the rare and valuable materials used in the panels. This new technology is expected to significantly reduce the cost of recycling solar panels and make it more economically viable.

Another exciting development is the emergence of a circular economy for solar panels. In this model, solar panels are designed from the outset to be easily recyclable, with the goal of creating a closed-loop system where solar panels are continuously recycled, and the materials are reused in new panels. The circular economy model for solar panels has the potential to significantly reduce the environmental impact of solar panel production and reduce the need for raw materials. Additionally, this model could help to create new jobs and stimulate economic growth in the solar panel recycling industry.

The World Economic Forum has recognized the importance of solar panel recycling and has called for a global effort to scale up the effort. According to the Forum, the global solar panel recycling market is expected to reach $1.2 billion by 2026.

In conclusion, the current trend of solar panel recycling is positive and inspiring. Despite the challenges associated with recycling solar panels, the industry has made significant progress in developing new technologies and business models that are designed to make solar panel recycling more efficient, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly. With continued investment and support, solar panel recycling has the potential to become a key driver of sustainable growth and economic development in the years to come.

Solar Farming: Having it both ways

As the solar industry continues to grow, more solar arrays are popping up nationwide. One of the locations used for solar panels is installing them in farm fields. Instead of a farmer growing crops in their field, they install rows of solar to capture sunlight. This allows farmers to collect revenue more consistently throughout the year. Recently there have been new strides in solar farming, including adding crops underneath the solar panels. This maximizes the space by growing crops on the ground while collecting solar above them. These types of solutions will propel the renewable energy industry and work towards a cleaner future.

What is Cloud Seeding? More human innovation solving today’s challenges:

Cloud Seeding is a process that has been used since the 1940s to increase precipitation during a storm. It involves the use of silver iodide, which is loaded onto a plane and shot into a cloud at a certain altitude to cause individual water droplets to freeze together to form snowflakes.

Although cloud seeding cannot single-handedly end a drought, recent studies have shown that it is effective and can yield a 5% to 15% increase in precipitation. This has made cloud seeding an important water management tool in areas experiencing droughts or water shortages.

The ongoing drought in the American West has prompted the Southern Nevada Water Authority to accept a $2.4m grant from the US Bureau of Reclamation to fund cloud seeding across other Western states whose rivers supply the parched desert region.

The funding will be used to upgrade generators to those that can be operated remotely and to seed clouds using planes in the Upper Colorado River Basin.  Cloud seeding has been used in Colorado since the 1950s to increase snowfall in the mountains, which serves as a major source of water for the Colorado River

Cloud Seeding is an important tool for increasing water supply in areas experiencing droughts or water shortages. In combination with solar, wind, and other innovations, these efforts are intended to support the increasing population and economic growth in many of our states out West.

See this video from CNBC for more information.

Paper thin solar cells

There was a recent development in the science of solar panels. A new paper thin solar cell was developed by researchers, and although it is still in its preliminary stages, the technology presents a myriad of possibilities and applications. Imagine installing this paper thin solar cell on your cell phone to charge it. Perhaps these paper thin solar cells could be stitched into articles of clothing to charge your devices while you are on the go. One proposed idea was installing these solar cells onto a ships sail in order to power the onboard electronics. Or even installing these cells into the shingles of your house. Whatever this technology is used for it offers us new possibilities for localized energy.

Three reasons to not install commercial rooftop solar

While commercial rooftop solar has many benefits, it may not be the right choice for every business. Here are three reasons why a business may choose not to install commercial rooftop solar:

1. Upfront Costs: One of the biggest barriers to installing commercial rooftop solar is the upfront cost. Solar panel installations can be expensive, and it may take several years for a business to recoup its investment through energy savings. Some businesses may not have the capital to make the initial investment or may be hesitant to take on debt to finance the project.

2. Space Limitations: Depending on the size and location of a business, there may not be enough space on the roof to accommodate a commercial solar installation. In some cases, the roof may be too small, too shaded, or too structurally weak to
support the weight of solar panels. In these cases, it may be necessary to explore alternative energy solutions.

3. Energy Needs: Businesses with low energy usage may not see as much benefit from a commercial rooftop solar installation. If a business does not use a significant amount of energy during the daytime when the sun is shining, it may not be able to take full advantage of the energy generated by its solar panels. In these cases, it may be more cost-effective to explore other energy efficiency
measures, such as upgrading lighting or HVAC systems.

Overall, while there are many benefits to commercial rooftop solar, it is important for businesses to consider their specific circumstances and energy needs before making a decision about whether to invest in solar energy.

Gordian Energy Systems is an expert at “untying the Gordian Knott” of commercial solar confusion and choices.  Our years of commercial building experience enable us to provide choices and solutions to our clients.