Are you thinking about adding solar energy to your organization? Wondering who is the best to talk to, what your options are, or how solar energy works? Look no further!

What is solar energy?

Solar is a renewable resource and does not emit any greenhouse gases in the energy generation process. However, the cost of solar in relation to other fuel sources is a barrier to adoption. Additionally, sunlight varies depending on geographic location, season, and time of day, which all creates limitations on its use.1 There are several different types of solar energy, such as solar farms, rooftop solar systems, and commercial solar power systems.

Solar farms are large scale solar installations where photovoltaic (PV) panels, referred to as solar panels, or other means of collecting solar energy, like concentrating solar systems are used to harvest the suns power. Solar farms are known as solar parks and solar power stations, and operate as power plants, similarly to a natural gas power plant or other sources of energy generation. Solar farms usually consist of ground-mounted solar panels installed across large areas. In most cases, solar farms provide power to the electric grid and are part of the utility’s energy mix.2

How is a Community Solar Farm Different than a Utility Solar Farm?

Other than size, utility-scale solar is generally larger than community solar. The chief difference between community solar farms and utility-scale solar farms is who they serve. Community solar projects serve subscribers while utility solar parks serve the utility company and all of its customers as part of the energy mix it carries on its power lines.

People, municipalities and businesses can buy power from community solar farms. Depending on how the community solar panel farm is developed, they buy the power from a portion of the farm, the panels in the farm itself or lease panels in the community farm. Then the power generated by their portion of the solar park is used to replace all or part of the electricity they use. If the energy generation from their portion of the solar farm is greater than their energy use in a given month, the excess generation is net-metered or carried forth on future electric bills, depending on local and state policies.2

What are the benefits of solar energy?

There are several benefits of solar energy. We’ll outline the most important ones here3:

  1. Solar energy is a renewable energy source.
    • The most important thing is that solar energy is a renewable energy source, and is available globally every single day. We can’t run out of solar energy, unlike fossil fuels.
  2. It reduces electricity bills.
    • Your energy bills will drop because you will be meeting some of your energy needs with the electricity produced from your solar system.
  3. It can be used for diverse purposes.
    • Solar can be used to generate electricity or heat. Solar energy can be used to produce electricity in areas without access to other forms of energy, can be used to distill water, and power satellites in space.
  4. It has low maintenance costs.
    • Solar systems generally won’t require much  maintenance besides cleaning a couple times per year. The inverter is usually the only part that needs to be changed after 5-10 years because it is continuously working to convert solar energy into electricity and heat.
  5. Technology is constantly advancing and improving.
    • Innovations in quantum physics and nanotechnology can potentially increase the effectiveness of solar panels and can significantly increase the electrical input of the solar power systems.

How can I use solar energy?

Municipalities, commercial buildings, hospitals, universities, and many more can benefit from the use of solar energy. Rooftop solar is a popular choice for many, as well as ground-mount solar. Solar canopies are also beneficial, and are a popular choice to install over parking lots, as they don’t take up ground space and offer shade to parked vehicles. Residential houses can also utilize rooftop solar panels.

How can N-Sci help with my solar project?

Make the transition to renewable energy today with N-Sci Technologies! Want to learn more about how you can benefit from a solar system? Whether your project involves the design and installation of an alternative energy system, or you require an energy consultant to assess your organization’s energy saving potential, our highly qualified team offers professional services to maximize your success. N-Sci offers a comprehensive, independent renewable energy consulting service to ensure maximum financial value for our clients.

Whether you are considering a small on-site generation system or a large-scale industrial project, we can provide the professional service you need. Give us a call today at 705-949-1033, or email info@nsci.ca. We look forward to working with you!

References

1Tran, Janice. (nd). Solar. Retrieved from studentenergy.org: studentenergy.org/topics/solar?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIicTA5uSa6gIVLwiICR2UsgezEAAYAiAAEgL5MfD_BwE

2Meehan, Chris. (May 18, 2020). What is a Solar Farm? Do I Need One? Retrieved from solarreviews.com: https://www.solarreviews.com/blog/what-is-a-solar-farm-do-i-need-one

3Vourvoulias, Aris. (May 28, 2020). Pros and Cons of Solar Energy. Retrieved from greenmatch.co.uk: https://www.greenmatch.co.uk/blog/2014/08/5-advantages-and-5-disadvantages-of-solar-energy