Renewable energy has seen a significant climb in popularity in recent times. According to statistics, over 90% of the world’s countries have signed up to the ‘Paris Agreement’ on climate change. This is an agreement made by 196 leaders of environmental organizations and countries to combat climate change, in November 2016.
The goal of the agreement is to decrease global warming, by at least between 1.5-2 degrees within the next couple of years. The advent of greenhouse gases is at the peak of the agreement. This is when fossil fuels are burnt to produce electricity in higher amounts than is necessary, thus harming the environment and heating it up more than it should. More about the agreement can be found on the United Nations website.
How the Government is Helping
This has been a serious topic of discussion since the signing of the agreement and is here to stay, so what better action to take then if every individual does their part? One of the ways countries can help towards this cause is through changing the ways they produce electricity to a more natural and eco-friendlier alternative such as Solar Power.
A few things that the government has done to lend a helping hand to those willing to partake in this act is:
- To provide financial assistance to those countries who cannot afford it, especially because of the large-scale requirements, needed to make any significant difference to the environment. These large-scale endeavors, especially within commercial ventures, can cost a lot of money so the government is willing to aid countries in it.
- To help provide the technological frameworks to countries to get set up with the right policies and implement the right methods. Their end goal is to increase technological advancement in these spaces and by doing it more frequently.
- To help build capacity-buildings, where there is not much space, within developing countries. The countries that have signed up will need to report to the proper authorities for them to help.
By intensifying these efforts, both home and business owners can help combat the current climate issues such as GHC emissions (Green House Gases) and global warming. Thus reducing our carbon footprint, the effects of which can be found online here: https://www.nature.org/en-us/get-involved/how-to-help/carbon-footprint-calculator/
Why Invest in Commercial Solar Power
One of the easiest and best options to access these incentives mentioned above that the governments are giving those who are swapping to solar energy is by investing in solar for your commercial businesses. This can be done via three main types of panels, which we look at below.
Three Types of Commercial Solar Panels
The cells that these types of use are made out of silicon wafers. These are assembled into rows, and columns, and form a rectangular grid-like sheet covered with glass. The composition of the silicon itself can vary depending on the type. These are the first types to be created and have been used for a long time.
One panel comprises about 40 monocrystalline solar cells. How this is created is by using the ‘Czochralski method’. A plate is added to molten silicon, once cooled down it is pulled apart slowly and forms a solid crystal shell referred to as an ‘ingot’. The final result is a thinly sliced wafer used on the panel, on top of which the cells are assembled.
These usually look darker than any other, mainly due to the sun’s light interacting with the pure silicon. These cells are black. The panels have small gaps between them for air circulation.
Slightly newer and a more modernized development, the Polycrystalline option is similar to the one above, Monocrystalline, because this too is made from silicon cells. Its fragments are melted together to form cells. During the process instead of peeling the sheet, it is allowed to cool and settle inside of a mold. These are then assembled to form a panel.
These are usually blue, and this is because of the sun’s interlinking with the crystals. Sunlight reflects differently with pure silicon than it does with crystals, which is why the Mono is black and the Poly is blue.
A further modernized and newest of all the developments, the thin-film are not always created using the silicon like its two predecessors. Instead, they can be manufactured using a variety of materials such as amorphous silicon (a-Si), Copper Indium Gallium Selenide (CIGS), and cadmium telluride (CdTe).
Any one of these materials is placed between thin sheets or thin-film of materials that are conducive to electricity and then a thin layer of glass comes last for protection. These are the thinnest yet and are 350 times thinner than any other. They can however be large and can be blue or black based on the material it is made out of.
The Mono is the most expensive of the lot, followed by the thin-film and the poly. This is because it is made of pure silicon, and is more effective than the others too, it can reach a 20% efficiency rate, compared to the other solar power panels which reach to about 17% and 11%. The cheapest is the thin-film and can save on installation costs due to these being of less weight than any other.
When looking to install these solar panels into your commercial building there are two things to consider, the cost and the efficiency. The efficiency is the level or percentage of energy the specific type of material can produce using the sun i.e. how much power can it bring to the building at any given time. The most efficient of them all is monocrystalline, thus it is the priciest as well.
The power capacity of the thin film can vary but on average it can deliver between 10-11% energy efficiency in comparison. You do save costs with the thin film, so you can opt to get more of these to make up for the loss of energy if not investing in the other two.
There are also other factors to consider such as climate deterrents like hail, rain, storms, and fire. If they are resistant to these factors or not, will make a huge difference to the costs as well.
Not everyone needs to sign the Paris agreement to make sure they choose solar over other traditional methods of harnessing electricity. All that matters is – Whatever you choose at the end of the day, make sure it fits your needs and helps you do your bit for the environment.