Onsite solar is generating and utilizing clean energy directly with the ability to either A. store and use it onsite to power an operation, or B. use the power and sell the overage to the local utility. An onsite solar array can reduce your energy costs, eliminate energy cost volatility and enhance your own sustainability efforts by providing a tangible energy asset of your own.
There are several factors to consider prior to installing an onsite solar system. The first step is to determine if onsite solar is right for your company:
- Do we want to save on our electrical bill?
- Do we utilize more than 1,000,000 kWh annually?
- Are we interested in an additional revenue stream?
- Do we want to reduce our contribution to local air pollution?
- Do we want to improve our carbon footprint?
In addition to the initial considerations, it is important to thoroughly evaluate other factors before installing a n on-site solar array.
- The site's solar potential: The amount of sunlight your location receives throughout the year directly affects the efficiency and effectiveness of your solar panels. Conducting a thorough solar irradiance analysis will help you determine the optimal placement and angle for the panels, maximizing energy production.
- Upfront cost and financial feasibility of the project: While on-site solar arrays can yield long-term savings, the initial investment can be significant. Companies should assess their available capital, potential financing options, and the expected payback period. It's essential to accurately calculate the return on investment (ROI), factoring in incentives, tax credits, and potential revenue from excess energy sales.
- The physical characteristics of your site: When installing solar panels, consider the amount of space available to accommodate the panels, any shading caused by nearby buildings or trees, and the structural integrity of the installation area. Shading can reduce energy production, so it's crucial to choose an area with as much sunlight as possible. Additionally, a structural assessment should be done to ensure the safety and longevity of the solar array.
By thoroughly assessing these factors, your company can determine whether installing an on-site solar array aligns with its goals, values, and long-term sustainability objectives.
ONSITE SOLAR FAQS
1. What are the benefits of solar energy?
- Proven reliable technology with 30+ year operating life
- Hedge energy prices by fixing all/portion of a utility bill
- Customer, employee, and investor focus on reducing greenhouse gases
- Bolster company sustainability initiatives
2. What incentives are available?
Federal, state, and utility. Federal incentives enable solar system owners to recoup 50% of the project cost.
3. How much does it cost to install an onsite system?
The cost of the system can vary depending upon what type of system is installed at the facility. KE will help plan a system that fits the area that is available at the most cost-effective solution.
4. Does an onsite system need to be maintained?
Maintenance is minimal on a solar plant vs. other power plants, but the system does require monitoring and maintenance throughout the life of the system. KE can offer these monitoring services and be on call to maintain the system.
5. When can I expect a return on my onsite solar system investment?
This can vary greatly on several factors such as system size, programs available, and how your current utility handles onsite solar. KE and partners, such as Nokomis Energy, will work through this process with potential clients with an assessment of the proposed system.
6. Where can solar panels be installed?
Solar panels can be installed on vacant land, rooftops of existing and new buildings, and on canopies over parking lots.
7. How does a solar photovoltaic (PV) system generate electricity?
By converting light (photon) to electricity (voltage) via the photovoltaic effect.
8. What if I produce more energy than needed?
Excess energy will flow out back to the utility grid. Depending on the program your utility has, the utility may purchase the excess power from the solar plant.