Solar panels are an increasingly popular way to meet the energy demands of commercial buildings and even large-scale industrial facilities. Incorporating solar energy into your building design can dramatically reduce your long-term operating costs, as well as your business’s impact on the environment. Whether you’re adapting an underused structure or putting up a new office building, below are a few ways to harness the power of solar energy.
3 Ways of Using Solar Power
1. Photovoltaic Panels
Solar panels directly convert sunlight into usable electricity, reducing your reliance on the power grid and lowering utility bills. While photovoltaic panels require the largest up-front investment, they also generate the highest returns. Depending on the weather and the design of your building, a solar array may virtually eliminate your building’s monthly energy expenses.
Sunlight streaming through large windows not only brightens the interior, but it also acts as a passive form of solar heating. Creating a building design with passive solar heating in mind allows you to get as much direct sunlight as possible in the winter and create shade in the summer. This approach focuses on the orientation of the building and the angles of sunlight at different times of the year, making it the only way to use solar energy without investing in additional equipment.
3. Solar Thermal
Solar thermal systems are designed to heat water, which is then routed to dishwashers, sinks, and even heating systems. Restaurants, small industrial facilities, and other businesses with high water needs can enjoy significant savings with solar thermal systems, but they may not be right for areas that frequently experience sub-zero temperatures.