How to Determine What Size Solar System You Need For Your Retail Store

Making the decision to convert to renewable, solar power is fairly straightforward. You want to save money, lessen your impact on the environment and continue to take advantage of all the modern amenities you love. All of those are fantastic reasons to make the switch, but in order to reach those goals, you'll need a large enough solar power system to provide the energy you need. Otherwise, you might not be able to run all of your appliances, like your air conditioner and refrigerator, and you won't be able to store enough power for later. Here are some ways to determine the right size system to produce the power you desire so you avoid those issues and enjoy your store more.

Look at Your Energy Usage

One factor in determining how large your solar installation must be is the average number of kilowatt hours (kWHs) that you consume each month. This can be done by simply reviewing your monthly electricity bills for a set period of time, such as a year. It is important to figure out the average, since some months you will use more, while other months your usage will drop. If you are determined to provide 100 percent of the power needed from solar, you will need a system that can produce the average amount on a consistent basis.

Determine Your Sun Hours

Solar panels need clear access to the sun to convert its light into usable energy. The longer the sun shines on the panel, the more power it can produce. If your retail shop is in an area that receives a great deal of sun year-round, the number of solar hours is high. Likewise, in regions that don't receive abundant sunshine, or on a shady lot, there are fewer solar hours. In the Sunbelt, for example, you can expect an average of 6 hours per day of peak sun, while in the northeast, you can expect around 4 hours. Sun hour maps are also available from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and can be used to determine the solar potential of your area.

Roof Size and Orientation

The size of the roof and its ability to hold the solar panels and other equipment is a major factor to consider. Before installing any solar equipment, a full roof inspection must be performed to ensure there are no roof weaknesses that could cause damage or injury. Ideally, your solar installation will face due south to take advantage of the peak sun hours. However, this is not always possible, due to the orientation of the store, trees, or other obstacles. While solar panels facing other directions will not produce the same level of power as those facing south, as long as there is sunlight, they will provide power. You may need more panels, in this case, to fully capture the sun and boost energy production.

Being environmentally friendly means seeking out natural, non-polluting alternatives for energy production. Nothing is more appropriate for this task than the sun. Its light can be transformed into abundant energy to power every gadget in your store, and more. To fully take advantage of this clean energy, however, you must determine the amount of power you need, the solar potential of your area, and the correct orientation on your roof. With those three key points of information, you'll be well on your way to reducing your carbon footprint without giving up your creature comforts.