Solar panels are a great way for your business to go green and contribute to the ongoing fight against climate change. They also have the added benefit of being able to generate some extra power to sell back to the national grid.
Unfortunately, getting started can be costly – but solar grants might make it easier to foot the bill. Here’s what goes into obtaining financial assistance for solar at your business or nonprofit – and how to make the installation simpler and safer.
What are solar PV panels?
Solar PV panels are a type of semiconductor device. PV stands for photovoltaic – i.e. they convert light energy to an electrical voltage.
This voltage drives a current. You can use the current to supply a load of your choosing – such as a battery or the equipment you use to run your business.
Without getting too deep into the physics, the panels only create voltage upon absorbing light – meaning they have to be in a sufficiently sunny area to work.
One important thing to remember is that not all solar energy technologies are PV cells. For instance, a passive system that uses the sun’s rays to heat your hot water directly has nothing to do with electric power generation – It’s just a solar thermal collector.
The benefits of getting solar grants for your business
Using solar isn’t just about supporting a growing new sector – there are also quite a few other advantages:
Solar grants can lead to a reduction in your electricity costs
Solar panels can help reduce your business’s electricity costs. In Ireland, some businesses are charged for their electricity use at a rate that’s significantly higher than the rate charged to residential customers.
Solar panels can help offset some of these costs by generating electricity for your business to use.
Demonstrate your business’s commitment to sustainability
Showing that you care about sustainability can have a positive impact on your brand and reputation. Customers and clients are increasingly interested in working with businesses that take steps to reduce their environmental impact.
Installing solar panels is a great way to put your money where your mouth is – it’s a highly visible demonstration of your corporate culture.
Contribute to reaching Ireland’s climate goals
Does your business want to help Ireland reach its climate goals? Installing solar panels on your business or nonprofit is a good start.
The Irish government has set ambitious targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing the use of renewable energy and solar panels can help your business play its part.
Reliable yet low maintenance
Solar panels are extremely reliable – there are no moving parts. Maintenance is also easy, and most businesses hire someone to handle it without paying much.
After being installed, solar panels take little upkeep. Most installations provide years of trouble-free operation. This makes them an attractive option for businesses that want to generate their electricity but don’t want the hassle of maintaining complex equipment.
Solar grants are suitable for a variety of businesses
No business is too unique – or too remote – for environmentally friendly solar. Even if your property features a tricky landscape, you can still get set up and start generating.
Businesses and nonprofits from all sectors use solar to operate in a socially responsible manner. Solar energy is renewable and doesn’t produce any harmful emissions, so it’s a great way to power your organisation without interrupting other business processes.
Solar grants and schemes available for businesses
The Non-Domestic Microgen Grant (NDMG) allows nonprofits, community centres, schools, companies, and other entities to apply for funds to offset their solar costs – offering payouts of up to €2,400.
To apply, you have to find a registered company – including getting two quotes. Then, you’ll fill out the grant paperwork, request that the ESB connects your system to the grid, and start the build process.
After your installer finishes the job, they’ll submit the required proof. From there, you’ll need to ensure you’ve provided all the documentation and then wait around a month for payment approval.
Physical considerations when installing solar panels at your business
Space, shading and feasibility
When it comes to solar PV panels, one of the most important factors is the amount of sunlight that hits the panel. If your business is in an area shaded by trees or buildings, you may not get enough direct sunlight to make solar panels a viable option.
You’ll also need sufficient space on your roof or property to accommodate the solar panels. A feasibility study can help you determine if roof-mounted solar panels (facing southward) or ground-mounted alternatives are the best options for your business.
You’ll also need sunshine!
Finally, remember that solar panels only work when they’re receiving sustained sunlight. While some types can create a bit of power on overcast days, they aren’t as efficient under such conditions.
So what does this mean? If you want to enjoy a source of power that lasts, you’ll probably need a battery – or some other green alternative, like wind power. Combined systems make it easier to avoid interruptions – and potentially manage risk.
Ground protection and temporary access solutions for solar panel installation
While some businesses may be easily accessible for the installation of solar panels, many others around the island of Ireland may be in remote or rural areas. If your business is located somewhere like this, our temporary access solutions are exactly what you need to ensure that your solar panel provider can reach your business.
Our TuffTrak is a heavy-duty mat that can act as a temporary roadway. It is the perfect solution for moisture-laden, unstable, or soft ground and can support industrial vehicles and heavyweight machinery weighing up to 150 tonnes. This makes TuffTrak the perfect ground protection and temporary access solution for the installation of solar panels in even the most remote locations.
Get in touch with our experienced and friendly team today to find out more, and don’t forget to check out our blog and resources to discover the multitude of projects made possible by our ground protection solutions.