According to data from Energy Sage, solar energy became the cheapest source of energy worldwide in 2016 (in over 60 countries). Since then, businesses have been exploring ways to tap into, integrate and benefit from the renewable energy source.
Barrier-to-entry factors associated with setting up solar PV systems are steadily decreasing. For remote locations, this is a major factor that has hindered adoption in the past decade. Before solar power, remote areas had to bring power to the location using traditional methods. This required trenching for poles or underground cables, as well as countless hours of labor, for connection to a utility company.
Such options are costly to setup and maintain over long periods of time. Furthermore, the permanent nature of such requirements are not suitable for temporary work sites.
This article explores the advantages of solar energy and takes a closer look at the types of solar PV products available on the market today.
Clean Energy at Peak Periods
The benefits of solar energy are numerous, for industrial and residential areas. Most businesses are active during the day, which is also the same period solar-powered systems are at their peak. Large battery storage solutions can be kept minimal and are only needed for facilities with high power consumption at night.
Solar power is also particularly attractive for establishments facing high operating expenses as a result from increasing electricity consumption or charges from a local utility company. Access to solar PV systems can be used to hedge against such risks and price hikes. Integration with daily operations are minimal, as solar-energy products are quiet, equipped with slim designs and reliable.
Businesses with renewable energy initiatives and programs may use solar power to improve their campaigns. In fact, setting up solar PV panels in remote sites is one of the most direct ways to go green. Companies looking to boost their reputation with the media and the community may consider investing in solar energy systems.
Space-saving Benefits and Marine Locations
Bulky machines and equipment that take up a lot of space can reduce the overall efficiency of a business. Without room for other tasks and projects, operations are severely affected. Solar PV systems address this issue by offering integrated installations. For instance, PV panels can be installed on rooftops, resulting in freed space on the ground or operating floor. On rooftops, the units may also provide insulation for the building. Moreover, it would be possible to mount PV panels away from the busy sections of the facility, such as on rugged terrain where work is not regularly conducted.
Perhaps one of the most overlooked applications of solar PV systems is remote, marine locations. Floating PV panels are recommended for use on lakes and large bodies of water, as the setup improves cooling and decreases evaporation. This also improves land allocation for work sites with limited space – a common issue for businesses close to the water.
During rough weather, floating PV systems can be folded up and stored to prevent damage. After the storm, operators simply return the panels back on the water. This option is far less risky and costly, compared to maintaining traditional power lines and distribution stations.
Not all remote locations need permanent energy solutions. Solar PV systems are portable and can be deployed for temporary use. This aspect of solar energy is incredibly useful for construction sites, emergency camps, mining and etc. With relatively no cost to deploy, operators only have to setup the panels at the location. After the job is complete, individuals can pack up the panels or move the entire system to a different part of the site to support other equipment or tasks.
Solar-powered Products and Systems
Many individuals are not aware of the types of solar-powered systems available on the market today. Conventional PV panel installations include rooftop and frame-mounted panels, which are ideal for permanent remote sites. While useful, there are other options for businesses and locations with versatile power requirements.
As mentioned earlier, portability is where solar PV systems really stand out. A temporary solar PV system is one that can be transported easily from one location to another. Additionally, essential features should promote quick and seamless deployment. An example of this is a cart or trailer-mounted solar PV system. The units can be equipped with batteries, controllers and even a backup generator – for emergencies. Attaching lights, security cameras, antennas or a wireless network system may turn the entire assembly into a powerful work station or hub.
Solar-powered features can also be integrated with commonly used equipment at the remote site. For instance, a solar-powered LED strobe light does not require an external power source during use. Instead, small panels can be found on the strobe, making the luminary portable and wireless.
Lastly, to make solar PV equipment more energy efficient, individuals can integrate motion or day/night sensors with the units. This hands-off approach streamlines operation and is perfect for security in remote locations or temporary sites. Solar-powered LED lights mounted on poles at perimeters, boundaries or entry/exit points of the area may benefit from such sensors. In most cases, the lighting systems are out of reach and would be time consuming to operate in a timely manner. Sensors are designed to address this issue, making illumination more productive in the remote location.