As the prices of oil and electricity rise, so do the environmental concerns surrounding those commodities. That leaves many business owners searching for alternative, affordable energy sources. This sentiment is echoed in a recent International Energy Agency study that showed a rise in renewable energy reliance and suggested that by 2022, that reliance is expected to increase by a third. Solar energy, a major renewable energy source, can offer many businesses the opportunity to cut operational costs while decreasing their carbon footprint, a claim that can also bolster brand perception. Why is not everyone turning to solar energy? In truth, it can be expensive to implement, but for many businesses, this investment can result in huge returns. By analyzing your current power infrastructure and some of the solar technologies available for commercial use, you can see whether solar investments prove to be worth the initial costs. Before getting started, it's important to understand a few key concepts behind solar power photovoltaics (PV) technology and solar thermal technology. PV solar technology converts sunlight into electricity and can be used in the same way you would use electricity from traditional sources (e.g., plugging in a light). PV technology is considered to be more versatile, and in some cases, can eliminate the need for conventional electricity -- however, it's a pricey investment. Solar thermal technologies, on the other hand, capture the sun's warmth to create hot water or heat and cool air. Though less versatile, solar thermal technology is often more affordable and offers business owners a great way to start harnessing the sun's energy. If you are trying to cut costs or go green, here are three ways you can incorporate solar power into your everyday business operations. Depending on the size of your business and the property surrounding it, the cost of outdoor lighting can become a significant portion of your electricity bill. Outdoor solar lighting can help defray your overall utility spend. Solar lights use PV technology to collect thermal energy and store it in batteries, where it is later used to light landscaping, walking paths, streets or parking lots. Since they are typically self-contained, they can run independent of an electric grid, making them an attractive option for locations with easy access to electric power. If solar lighting is a feasible option for your business, make sure the expected placement location has regular access to sunlight. In addition, be sure to find out exactly how long the lights will run at night; some may run four hours, while others may make it to 12. Also -- and really this should be true of every purchase -- make sure that you check the pricing and availability of replacement parts. Investing in an entire parking lot full of solar lighting only to find that parts are unavailable or extremely expensive can be a serious hit to your bottom line. Solar water heaters do pretty much what you would expect -- heat water. When compared, the initial investments associated with a solar system may be more expensive than a traditional one, but the savings can be significant. How much? That depends on multiple factors, including location and total water use; however, experts often point to savings between 50 and 80%. A solar water heater is not likely to replace your conventional water heater. Instead, the projected savings are a reflection of decreased dependence on electric water heating technologies. Businesses that use a significant amount of hot water (hotels, restaurants, spas, etc.), are likely to benefit the most. A south facing location that receives direct sunlight is all you need. Before you purchase, be sure to have a solar expert walk you through the different types of collectors and storage tanks. There are many systems to choose from, including active systems and passive systems, and it's important to examine the pros and cons of each type before making your decision. On that note, I would urge commercial entities to consider active solar systems, which are typically more efficient, especially in cooler climates. I also recommend checking with your local governing bodies to identify any ordinances or building codes that would prevent or otherwise impact implementation. Thermal solar energy can also help control the temperature of your commercial property or building, replacing or supplementing traditional HVAC units. Solar heating solutions harness thermal energy to heat air, and then that air is pumped into the building. The process and concept behind these are very similar to that which governs solar water heating. Solar cooling, as you would imagine, is a bit more complex, and in the name of brevity, I will try to keep the explanation simple. If this type of technology really intrigues you, however, it's worth further investigation. Solar cooling may sound counterintuitive, but it's a happy partnership between solar thermal energy and adsorption technology (not be confused with absorption technology). In this case, thermal power forces the evaporation of liquid refrigerants, which absorb the heat and subsequently cool the air. That cooled air is then pumped into the building. As is the case with the previously mentioned solar options, a solar analysis is essential to this type of investment. You will also want to make it a point to check on zoning or building codes to assure implementation is within legal bounds. Solar energy solutions may not be a perfect fit for every business, but for many, the investment can result in environmentally friendly energy that can have a significant impact on your operational spend. These solutions can decrease costs and take your business into the future. As a final note, the importance of identifying and unlocking hidden efficiencies within your business spend requires careful, ongoing analysis and effective purchasing, a concept that I make a priority at Taylor Consulting and Contracting. This sentiment rings true with any solar investments you may make, so take the time to work with knowledgeable energy professionals, and you will find yourself on the path to savings.
1. Why are car dealerships allowed by the government to leave their parking lot lights on all night?
as you said, because of security. I hope you realize that "solar lights" are just electric lights running off a battery. those lights are all hooked up to the grid, for the record though
2. I just purchased outdoor solar lights in a copper finish. How do you keep copper looking clean?
Some people buy copper because it will turn green (Like the Canadian parliament buildings) Copper oxidizes (turns green) rapidly --After you've thoroughly cleaned it you need to put a seal over it You can get metal sealants in any hardware store
3. Solar Lights not turning on even with new batteries, cleaned them all, and have plenty of sun.?
1. Do you have the right type of battery? Most of the ones that I have run on nicad rechargeable. 2.Check the battery connections, the tend to corrode because they are outside. 3. Test with a charged battery to see if light comes on. 4. Most newer solar lights are LED's because they are energy efficient. If they are not LE D's check the bulbs