Commercial Solar

Sunlight based energy is a renewable asset, and numerous advancements have made it ready to be used in homes, organizations, schools, and clinics. Some sun oriented energy advances incorporate photovoltaic cells and boards, concentrated sunlight based energy, and sun energized engineering. Solar power systems are divided in three major market sectors namely; Residential rooftop, commercial rooftop and utility scale ground mount. This article focuses on the second type i.e. commercial solar power systems. Commercial solar power plants have been in this world for as long as thirty years. The first model was developed sometime in the 1980s.

The term commercial solar refers to solar panels installed on the rooftops of buildings used for commercial purposes. These may include one to two story warehouses, office building with more than two stories, big box stores, sky scrapers etc. It is surprising to know that places of worship such as church and mosques fall under the same category. The design and cost of photo-voltaic systems for commercial sector depend mainly on the material of the roof and the design of the building, on which it is to be installed. Usually, commercial rooftops are specified to have very little to no slope and a seamed metal surface. And just like residential solar plants, additional load considerations are kept to a minimum. In easier terms, it means that the rooftop’s capacity to deal with any more weight, such as snow during winters, is not a concern.

Working of a commercial solar power plant is fairly simple, yet effective. When photons of light (sunlight) strike surface of PV module, the energy of these photons excite the electrons hence generating Direct current (DC). This DC is converted to AC through an inverter for use in different capacities. However a different approach may also be used in commercial PV plants. It goes by the name of concentrated solar thermal generation. This type of generation makes use of mirrors to concentrate a large area of sunlight onto a smaller area. Concentration of solar energy results in the production of heat energy which is in turn used to drive a heat engine connected to an electrical power generator.

Mostly customers adopt PV systems to reduce electric bill, maximize energy output from available roof. The current state-of-the-art technology produces single crystal silicon solar cells having efficiency close to 25%. However, mass produced cells which are commercially available typically have 13-14% efficiency. However with the advancement in solar cell research, it is expected that the efficiency will be raised to 25-30% in the near future. Then, according to new research by clean tech market research firm GTM Research, the cost of photovoltaic Module prices continue to fall. It is estimated that advancements in the technology will results in cost reduction of as much as 75%.

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