Produce Energy: How Your Roof Can Help Meet Sustainability Goals
The installation of solar panels has become a viable solution to rising energy costs over the last decade. A solar system may not be practical on every roof, however with the possibility of realizing significant value, it’s worth investigating.
This type of renewable energy project gives you the opportunity to hedge against future electricity increases or buy electricity at a discounted rate. It also reduces the facility’s carbon footprint. The energy generated from solar panels can reduce your dependence on the grid, and cut your electric bill by as much as 90 percent with a three-year return on investment.
The perceived cost of a solar system is the single biggest barrier. Available financing options such as a lease or Hybrid Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) can provide significant benefit. Additionally, the federal solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC), set to expire in 2016, provides a 30-percent tax credit for commercial facilities that install solar. Financial incentives are also provided by many states and local utilities.
Clean Your Solar Panels
A build-up of environmental debris on the surface of solar panels dramatically reduces their energy output. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), a Golden, CO-based national laboratory of the U.S. Department of Energy, surface dirt blocks solar radiation from reaching the solar cells. Soiling diminishes the solar power output. The NREL reports losses as high as 25 percent in some areas.
Cleaning ensures peak performance and maximizes energy production. Aside from preventing energy production losses, it’s imperative that cleaning be performed to comply with many solar panel manufacturers’ warranties.
This is the second blog article in D. C. Taylor Co.’s four-part series on how (and why) to include your roof in environmental initiatives.