If you have a commercial building, consider installing a solar power system. That’s because it’s cost-effective and plays a crucial role in protecting the environment. You can consider various installation options if you plan to have one.
One of the best ways of installing solar panels in a commercial building is by placing them in an open area. The best location for solar panels is a clear area with much sunlight and not shaded by trees. You may install them on your building’s roof or the roof of a carport if there isn’t any adjacent clear, open ground.
Additionally, you must ensure that professionals handle the entire process. You can contact Impact Energy Colorado Home Solar Installation or other providers to install solar panels in a commercial building. Such providers have a team of experts who can help answer any questions. That said, this is how you can set up solar panels in a commercial building:
1. Examine The Roofing System
It’s common practice to install solar panels on commercial buildings on the roof. It’s so that there’s more sunlight and room on the top than on the sides. Before installing solar panels, consider the roofing system your commercial building has to ensure it can support them.
For instance, installing solar panels on a flat roof is relatively easy. To hold the solar panels in place, you must add unique brackets if your roof is slanted.
Therefore, it’s equally crucial to inspect your roof so you can decide where to put the solar panels. The right racking system can be selected by design engineers, guaranteeing that the modules are securely fastened without harming your roof.
Nonetheless, you should be wary of vendors who make ‘generic’ solar offers without first evaluating them; they’re probably just trying to make a quick sale, making assumptions, and leaving out crucial information.
2. Get A Professional Energy Audit
Before installing any system powered by solar energy, it’s essential to understand how your structure utilizes energy. With the help of a professional energy audit, you can see exactly how much power and fossil fuels each building system uses so you can decide how to cut consumption.
You can pair your commercial solar installation with energy-saving practices for even more significant savings. It ascertains that you have an efficient system that’s also cost-effective. The energy audit should inform your present electricity consumption profile and the potential savings you might realize with energy efficiency initiatives.
After increasing efficiency, your solar power system can be developed by the anticipated demand. However, you risk having an excessive system if a commercial solar array is sized based on current power usage and energy efficiency later improves.
3. Review The Engineer’s Plan
Once you’ve received the energy audit report, the next step is to have an engineer review the plan. Solar engineers plan, design, and occasionally implement the solar energy project using the information gathered during the audit.
During this phase, the engineer may provide updates on the project’s cost, effectiveness, and safety. Moreover, you can also have the engineer participate in the site audit, depending on the solar provider.
4. Hire Certified Personnel
A non-profit organization called the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) offers professional development, continuing education, and certification for solar energy and other renewable energy businesses. You should hire a licensed contractor for many reasons, such as to ensure safety.
Personnel with NABCEP certifications have the education and practical knowledge to successfully plan, erect, and manage solar energy systems. To get excellent outcomes, it’s a good idea to hire NABCEP-certified professionals if you’re considering using solar energy for your commercial building.
Further, ensure that you’ve counter-checked the credentials provided by the certified personnel. It protects you from frauds who might harm the integrity of your commercial building and put you at risk during and after the installation of the solar panels.
5. Ensure That The Solar Design Meets State Regulations And Manufacturer Requirements
When you install a solar system into your commercial building, it’s considered an upgrade that the local authorities must approve. Before starting the installation process, you must get all the necessary permits and approvals. It’s crucial if you intend to place solar panels on structures spread throughout several cities.
Unfortunately, there has yet to be a set procedure for obtaining permits. This process might proceed fast or take a lot of time and money, depending on the local government, size, and complexity. You can also start filling out paperwork for incentives and rebates.
In addition, you must get approvals even if you have a similar system in another commercial building because building codes in one area can be different. You can meet the standards of several states and cities with the assistance of a certified design company.
You must also ensure that all manufacturer’s instructions are strictly followed when installing solar panels. Many solar panel manufacturers now provide product guarantees of up to 25 years, but only when the panels are installed and used correctly. Your solar PV system design must adhere to the guidelines given by equipment vendors as well as local construction codes.
6. Consider Sunlight Exposure
Another significant consideration when installing solar panels on business buildings is sunlight exposure. That’s because sunlight is converted to energy by solar panels. Ideally, the less sunlight exposure your panels get, the less solar power you’ll get.
You’ll require more solar panels to generate enough power if your commercial building is in a region with limited exposure to sunshine. So when installing solar panels, you should also consider the orientation of your commercial building.
Further, you’ll receive greater solar exposure if your commercial building faces the south than it does the east or west. It will also impact the number of solar panels you need to install.
7. Find High-Quality Solar Panels And Inverters
Ensure that you find high-quality solar panels and inverters for your commercial building. Though premium solar panels are costly, they provide longer service lives and increase production over time. The cost of improved quality is more than offset by the money saved on electricity.
You can determine if the solar panels are high-quality if they have a certification mark from the provider. If this is the case, you can be sure that the final installation has been tried and tested. The quality of a solar panel can be affected by its construction material, weather resistance, appropriate assembly, and the country in which it was designed and made.
Moreover, high solar panel efficiency does not imply superiority; rather, it aids in your decision-making on the type of installation that would be most beneficial for your company. You’d want more effective photovoltaic (PV) panels if there weren’t much room to place solar panels.
8. Consider The Commercial Building’s Electrical System
The electrical system of a building is essential since the solar panels will be linked to it. Before adding solar panels, your building needs to upgrade its old electrical system. The professionals you’ve hired should carefully evaluate the current system and determine how to integrate the solar power system.
Further, the electrical system of your building should ideally handle the output and voltage level of the solar panels. Additionally, you want to put in a disconnect switch that will enable you to turn off the solar panels’ connection to the power supply in an emergency.
9. Factor In Solar Energy Storage Options
Another component that you must consider is storage batteries for solar power. That’s because you can only collect solar energy during the day; if it is not immediately used or stored, it is lost. Thus, options for storage become relevant in this situation.
Since many commercial buildings also consume electricity at night, having the proper storage solution can be beneficial. The extra solar energy generated during the day that isn’t utilized is stored in an energy storage module so it can be used later, like at night or on a cloudy day.
Therefore, ensure that you get solar batteries from a reputable company. The batteries must be appropriate for both on and off-grid systems.
10. Install The Solar Panels
Depending on the scale of your solar system, the project might take anywhere from two days to two weeks or longer. You must drill holes into the rafters to install the solar panel mounts for the usual connected or hybrid system.
Then, thin metal plates are put over the mounts to stop water leakage. The rails are joined to the panels by their attachments. The inverter is then linked to the solar panels.
11. Schedule A Final Inspection
Once the solar panels have been installed in your commercial building, you must schedule a final inspection. The utility or city building agency should do this before you start using the solar system.
The Inspectors will check if the structure or grounds have been altered under the law, including checking if the required permits were obtained. It ensures that the entire system is up to code and doesn’t pose a risk to other people.
12. Present A Utility Interconnection Request
As the owner of the solar system, you must submit a request for interconnection to the utility department. The waiting period for connections, prerequisites, costs, and application formats will change depending on where your commercial building is located.
13. Start A Monitoring Plan
The standard grid-tied solar system requires very little maintenance because it has no moving parts. Ensure that you maintain a clean system free of dust and debris, and clean with mild soap and a mop or squeegee to get rid of tough dust or bird droppings.
Nonetheless, it’s essential to have regular assessments. As a system owner, you should have all the necessary information on your system’s performance, such as how much money and CO2 have been saved from monitoring devices and services.
Installing solar panels on your commercial building is essential because it’s cost-effective and reduces electric energy consumption. You must ensure that you get the most suitable solar panels and that they’re installed correctly. Hiring a professional to handle the entire process would be best.