SPEP Goes Solar

by | Mar 1, 2023

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Equipment used to harness solar energy for residential or commercial power is a big investment, making some understandably hesitant to implement because they are not sure if the benefits outweigh the hoops you jump through to get there. Another important question that comes up is, “How long will it take for the savings on my energy bill to become worthwhile?” These are crucial points to discuss because investing in the switch to solar energy is a big decision and can be very costly. The goal is to have all your energy needs covered without a monthly bill or sometimes even generate income by selling power back to the grid; but how long does it take to achieve that coveted return on investment? It is important to outline a plan breaking down all the costs and benefits it will bring in the future and a schedule of the overall project timeline.

Running on solar power is a smarter way to consume energy; it lowers electrical bills, provides a more renewable source of energy, reduces carbon footprint, and acts as a long-term investment. For businesses, one of the many overhead costs we face is electricity. Entire facilities run on electrical power from lights to welders to computers, and without it very little would get done. Being dependent on the commercial power grid, the cost of electricity can fluctuate abruptly resulting in price increases throughout the year. Running on solar energy avoids that issue, as it lets you take control of your electricity needs in-house. Using solar panels also provides clean, renewable energy from the sun, and does not release harmful emissions back into the atmosphere. Transitioning to solar power, a company or individual will receive outstanding financial return on investment over a shorter amount of time than you might think.

Having accessibility to solar energy seems like the ideal situation, but that may not always be the case in all situations. Solar panels transform abundant amounts of sunlight into usable energy and to do that you need the correct environment. One of the main reasons solar panels are not more common in some areas is because they are reliant on proper weather conditions. If you live in a gloomy climate without much sunlight, it may not be worthwhile since significantly less energy would be generated. Another challenge faced during solar panel installation is the need for a large installation area such as a  rooftop or a wide-open field. Many individuals do not have sufficient space to dedicate multiple panels to for maximum effect. Lastly, transitioning to solar power requires very costly equipment and installation which can make it inaccessible for the average homeowner or small business. If little power is generated, then it may take a long time to see any ROI.

Investing in solar energy is an arguably worthwhile endeavor based on the environmental conservation and cost savings aspects alone. However, not only does solar energy serve as an alternate energy option, but it can also be used as an electrical backup if you experience any unexpected outages or rolling blackouts from the traditional energy grid. The cost of implementing solar panels has also decreased within the last few years and government tax incentives are available, making them a more reasonable solution than ever before. Several Fortune 500 businesses have transitioned to running on solar energy to become more vertically integrated and self-sufficient versus their competition. It is important to educate yourself on the advantages and disadvantages of this topic for your specific situation before pulling the trigger. Converting from regular electricity to running on solar power is a major expense that should be planned and budgeted for. It is wise to evaluate all the information available before making the right choice for you and your organization.

As of December 2022, a new law has been passed in California that reduces the incentive payments for rooftop solar power. Although the solar industry has experienced consistent growth for more than a decade, the growth was charged by a net metering policy that compensates homes and businesses for contributing excess power back to the larger grid. This topic has been a major source of debate in the state, where high solar incentives were originally implemented with the intent to aid in achieving lofty goals to address climate change. New rates will be determined by the cost for utilities to purchase clean power from an alternative source, which is expected to cut average paybacks by around 75%. However, the new plan will still encourage people to install batteries that run off clean power for the summer nights. This new California law will take effect in April 2023, which gives current home and business owners more time to install solar panels on their roofs and still receive the previous incentives. Constant conversations and issues over solar energy like this will continue to arise in other areas as well, making it even more difficult for individuals and businesses to determine when or even if they should make this change for themselves.

Sierra Pacific Engineering and Products is a proud user of solar energy for our US-based operations. We initially installed solar panels in 2016 at our Long Beach, CA headquarters where our initial investment spent on equipment and installation was recouped in under five years. We have since upgraded the initial configuration and added even more solar panels to the building in 2021. We now have over 300 panels in total and our California location runs on 100% solar power. Since the 2021 upgrade, we have reduced use of traditional energy. Sierra Pacific also offers free electric vehicle charging stations for our employees, which encourages the transition away from cars with polluting internal combustion engines. We are fully committed to saving energy and engaging in other environmentally friendly practices as well. For example, we have also been recycling all the cardboard we use for over 20 years. Conducting business in an efficient and sustainable way is one of our main goals here at Sierra Pacific Engineering and Products, which helps protect both the planet and our loyal customers. Contact us now to learn more and receive an offer for any of your ongoing industrial access hardware needs.

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