Having begun with residential and commercial solar systems, Australia is quickly heading towards a renewable future. But does this extend to industrial applications? Are factories and heavier machines able to operate on solar power?
The type of industry
Almost every industry can benefit from solar in some shape or form, albeit to varying degrees. Much like other businesses that utilise commercial solar panels, industries that function primarily throughout the day will be able to maximise solar collection. These can include warehousing, production, and distribution.
However, solar is still just as viable for factories, water maintenance, healthcare, large-scale manufacturing, and even cold storage.
The only real barriers to industrial and commercial solar panel use are the cost, available space, structural considerations, and how much electricity is needed.
How much electricity?
Whether you’re considering a smaller or larger commercial solar system, it’s important to determine how much electricity is consumed throughout the day in order to decide whether solar is feasible for your operations.
Reliable solar installers will perform an energy profile analysis as part of your solar assessment, to accurately ascertain daily energy consumption and the needs of your business. This ensures that you are offered a quote for a solar system that is fit for purpose.
The costs of large-scale solar
Commercial solar panels are cheaper than ever before but they still require a significant investment, especially at the sizes required to power energy-intensive industries. Smaller commercial or industrial needs can potentially be met by a 30kW system, but larger ones may need up to 100kW or more. It all comes down to your energy usage and what you wish to achieve with solar.
Regardless, the more kilowatts your system provides, the higher the cost. According to SolarQuotes, a system above 30kW but below 100kW can cost between $1000 – $1300 per kilowatt. Over this threshold, you’ll not only have to pay for the commercial solar panels themselves, you’ll require particular infrastructure and the services of a highly-qualified solar specialist.
Grid-tied solar systems & batteries
While solar is undoubtedly useful, and necessary, for factories and industries that run throughout the day, it’s a different story for powering heavy machines at night. This is where grid-tied systems put in work, drawing energy from the grid in the event there isn’t sufficient solar power, such as on cloudy days or during night-time operation. The current design of grid-tied inverters makes the solar power the same as the grid-supplied power, and both powers can be drawn to supply while solar power at the site has the priority to be used.
You may also wish to consider solar batteries to collect unused energy during the day and use at night. However, the potential usefulness and saving offered by solar batteries need to be taken into the consideration.
The reason for this is despite providing more control over your energy usage. The cost at present of batteries is not as low as solar systems and to replace a huge power consumption like industries usage it may not be an optimal solution. Some may be considered to get the batteries to store unused power and to provide an emergency backup to essential loads, eg, lights when grid power is off.
Whether used to completely power your home, run factories and heavy machinery, or simply offset some of the rising electricity costs, there are uncountable benefits to installing solar.
The important part is choosing an experienced and reliable solar installer, one with the proper specialist knowledge to install a commercial system tailored to your business needs.
For more information about commercial solar and how it can boost your business, reach out to Solar System Australia for a free assessment. Give our team a call on 1800 975 270 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.