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5.5.16_78897103_beboy.gifAlthough Pennsylvania and New Jersey may not have the sunniest climate, it's still possible to get some real benefits from solar panels in our area. Using solar energy could potentially save you money and help you gain customers, but it's not practical for every situation. If you're thinking about investing in solar energy, consider the pros and cons carefully.

How Solar Energy Can Benefit You

One of the most attractive benefits of solar energy is the potential for lower energy bills. After the panels are installed, you pay nothing for the electricity they generate from the sun's rays. If your business is typical, you'll recoup your investment in the panels and installation within 10 years. Keep in mind most solar panels come with a 25-year warranty. Better yet, many local electrical companies will buy any excess power your panels generate. That means you could eventually profit from the panels.

Solar panels reduce your dependency on the local power grid. If the power goes out due to a storm or another issue, you'll still have electricity. You'll be able to keep your business running and your customers comfortable at times when your competitors can't.

While the cost of purchasing and installing commercial solar panels may seem off-putting, there are ways to reduce your expenses. Manufacturers and utilities providers often offer rebates that let you quickly recoup some of your investment. Federal and state tax breaks for energy-efficient equipment help also lower your total expenses.

Unlike coal-fired electrical plants, solar energy produces no harmful emissions. By using solar power instead of the municipal power supply, you're helping to reduce the production of greenhouse gases that harm the environment and contribute to common health problems such as asthma. In fact, solar power poses even less of a threat to the environment than hydroelectrical dams and wind turbines.

Your solar panels visibly demonstrate your concern for the environment and public health. They help you stand out from your competitors and attract customers who value green living.

The Downsides of Solar Energy

Although solar panels decrease your dependence on your electrical company, they increase your dependence on the weather, which is even less predictable. Cloudy days reduce the system's efficiency, and too many in a row can leave you with higher power bills than you expected.

If your building is surrounded by tall trees or buildings, your system may never reach its full potential efficiency. In all but the sunniest of conditions, you'll still be somewhat reliant on your power company. That's why it's critical to have a technician review your building site and electricity requirements before you decide to invest in solar power.

Like any technological equipment, solar power equipment requires regular maintenance. Dust and debris on a solar panel reduces it's efficiency, so you'll need to keep yours clean to get the most out of it. If the system is damaged by hail, wind-blown debris or animals, you'll need to find a qualified repair technician.

Even with rebates and tax breaks, installing a commercial solar energy system is still a hefty upfront investment. If the system is being added to an existing structure, the electrical system will have to be reconfigured. You may also need to upgrade your roof. These factors make installing a system in an existing building more expensive than installing one during construction.

To avoid a costly disappointment, run an exhaustive cost-benefit analysis with guidance from a solar energy technician before you put down that much cash up front.

Our goal is to help educate our customers about Plumbing, HVACR, Fire Protection, and Alarm Systems in Mechanical, Commercial, and Residential settings. For more information about solar panels and to view projects we've worked on, visit our website!

Photo Credit: "beboy/Pexels"

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