Sustainability & Energy Efficiency

Selecting the Right Renewable System to Diversify Your Energy Supply

3 min read

There are many reasons why businesses might invest in renewable energy systems today. As costs continue to come down, renewables are an attractive and cost-effective method for businesses to meet their energy needs. Installing a renewable energy system can reduce reliance on the power grid, affording businesses the safety that comes along with greater diversity and self-reliance.

But selecting a renewable energy system randomly can greatly constrain the effectiveness of your system. As such, any business thinking about installing a new renewable energy system should carefully assess its needs and capabilities before making a decision.

Failure to select the right system can negatively impact the return on your business’s investment due to inefficiency and lead to higher installation and maintenance costs. If your business is looking to install a renewable energy system, be sure to weigh all your options before making a choice.

Here are some of the most common ways that businesses are leveraging renewable technology today.

Rooftop: The case for rooftop solar is straightforward. Businesses can benefit from rooftop solar panels if they have ample unused space in an area where their roof gets a lot of sun. These systems are low-cost and easy to install. However, this is not the case for all businesses. If your facility doesn’t get a lot of sun, a rooftop solar system won’t benefit your business to the fullest. Likewise, if your roof has structural obstacles or requires repairs, this may negatively impact the ability to properly install and maintain a rooftop solar panel system. 

Ground-mounted: Ground-mounted solar systems can be placed in a location on premises that receives the most direct sunlight. In addition, ground-mounted solar panels can be installed at any angle, unlike rooftop systems. This allows for the greatest efficiency. And because ground-mounted systems actually come up several feet off the ground, their design allows for better airflow that helps businesses get longer life out of their systems. However, if your facility has limited acreage, ground-mounted systems may not be the best use of your space.

Carport: Businesses with large, open parking lots can make several improvements by installing carport solar panel systems. These systems create a canopy of panels that generate power on site. This also provides customers and employees with parking spaces sheltered from the elements. This benefit can delight others that visit your facility while also protecting your lots from the wear and tear that comes from exposure to the elements.

Wind: While not as popular as solar, wind is a leading source of renewable energy today. In order to have optimal effect, wind turbines require a lot of open space. Turbines must be high enough off the ground to benefit from currents higher in the atmosphere. As such, wind is not the first option for many businesses. However, if your business has a lot of open space—mainly landscapes with different elevations—you may see the benefits.

Biomass: Biomass is a form of energy created from plants, food waste, manure and countless other organic compounds. Research into biomass has shown that it can be a valuable asset for both storing energy as well as consuming it. In order for biomass to be a practical option, however, businesses should have consistent access to the materials needed to make it. As such, biomass is a likely solution for industries like agriculture, food services and waste management.

Offsite: Not all businesses are in the position to leverage an onsite renewable energy system. If you don’t own the property, your options may be left to the discretion of the property owner. Physical limitations may further impede your ability. For these reasons, many businesses have opted to invest in offsite renewable energy systems.

In some cases, businesses can simply approach an independent energy supplier, like Constellation, with preexisting infrastructure. In other cases, businesses can allocate a portion of their budgets to help build systems and reap the rewards once the project is complete. For businesses in this position, it is vital to consider a number of factors before proceeding. This includes comparing costs and benefits, researching possible tax credits and other financial incentives and more.

Shared solar: One offsite solution that has become more popular with business leaders is community (or shared) solar. Investing in shared solar allows businesses interested in leveraging renewable energy to work together to fund the construction of a local solar farm. The companies split the costs, and the energy, that the farm generates.

To learn more about your business’ energy options, click here to speak with an experienced Constellation representative today.

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