Dealers can significantly lower their utility costs, offset their carbon footprints, and promote themselves as responsible corporate citizens by taking advantage of solar energy technology.
Typical dealerships share similar characteristics: they are large and flat, and requiring significant lighting. These three factors make dealerships the perfect candidates for installing solar energy systems.
“Solar energy works by using solar panels to convert the sun's radiation into electricity in order to supply power to the appliances used in our businesses and homes,” says Ezra Green, Chairman and CEO of Clear Skies Solar.
Rays of sunlight hitting the solar panels are absorbed by semi-conducting materials, such as silicone. This knocks electrons loose from their atoms, allowing the electrons to flow through the material, producing electricity.
This process of converting light into electricity, called the photovoltaic effect, presents numerous benefits, both in terms of saving costs and promoting environmental responsibility.
Green says the major benefits of solar panels include:
- Pollution prevention. Using solar energy does not release greenhouse gases or other pollutants;
- Added property value. Solar systems lower operating costs and increase property value;
- Distributed generation. Photovoltaic systems do not use the central electrical grid for transmission but rather generate power directly where it is consumed, thus lowering the stress and transmission loads on the central power grid and reducing the likelihood of blackouts during times of high demand;
- Peak performance at times of highest demands - Photovoltaic systems are particularly efficient during the sunniest and usually the hottest parts of the day, thereby providing the greatest savings during times when customers are usually charged the most for traditional electricity.
- Extended lifespan with low maintenance. Solar panels typically have a lifespan of more than 25-30 years, and since solar electric has no moving parts, little to no maintenance is required.
“Twenty-four states offer rebate programs for a significant portion of the system cost,” says green. “If a business owner is not eligible for a rebate or tax credit, power purchase agreements are available, whereby a third party purchases the system and sells the electric power to a facility at a fixed, lower rate.”