Commercial solar panels, also known as systems, differ from residential solar systems in many ways. For starters, a commercial solar system is often much more extensive. On average, commercial solar systems are more significant than residential solar systems. A residential solar system is usually only made up of six to ten cells – the size of a typical desktop computer – and is about three to four inches thick. On the other hand, a commercial solar system comprises thousands of smaller solar cells – about the size of a refrigeration freezer.
In addition, commercial solar systems are designed differently. Most residential panels are mounted on the roof. However, commercial buildings are often roofed over parking lots. This means that the panels need to be specially designed and installed for the different conditions. It also means that they have to be placed in areas that will receive direct sunlight throughout the day.
Another big difference between commercial solar and residential is the amount of electricity that each system can produce. A small commercial solar system can provide enough energy to completely run a single household in residential areas. But a large residential building requires at least one backup battery just in case the primary unit doesn’t get turned on. These batteries to store excess power in a separate building until it is needed, and are usually covered by a warranty.
Commercial buildings differ in their needs as well. Some require backup batteries and even vents, whereas others simply don’t need anything special. Large commercial solar plants can cover a wide area with a variety of panels, so some utility-scale projects can even be completed. However, some projects can’t meet the energy requirements, simply because of the size of the building and the wiring involved. Utility-scale projects are more expensive than residential projects, and the costs can add up quickly.
Utility-scale solar projects generally come in two forms: One is the flat roof type that provide a roof-top array along with storage tanks below the roofline, and the other is the CSP (conversion solar system) which are installed on a building’s roof and includes a series of flat surfaces along the building’s edges that collect and channel sun heat. These flat surfaces are made from photovoltaic (PV) cells. PV cells are used to convert the rays of the sun into electricity. A CSP system may include a number of PV cells linked together to create a larger structure. This structure may include the conversion unit, battery bank, and generator. Both types of commercial solar projects use the same photovoltaic (PV) technology.
On a broader scale, commercial solar energy projects can be installed on a wide scale across the country. Some utility companies in certain states, such as Texas, have implemented large-scale commercial solar projects. Other states, such as Hawaii, have been experimenting with the installation of small “solar farms” for generating electricity on an on-site basis. The idea of large-scale installations of commercial solar energy has received a mixed response from the public.
However, there is a distinct advantage to commercial projects over residential projects for the following reasons. One is that residential solar projects can only generate power at night. Solar companies cannot always guarantee that daytime output will be adequate. In addition, commercial solar projects can provide backup power during blackouts or when the utility company fails to compensate for the loss of generated power. Even if the backup power source is only a fraction of what the utility company normally pays for, it can still save a business financially during an emergency.
Commercial solar energy projects are usually easier to implement than residential ones. For one thing, utility companies do not always charge for daylight hours when solar energy is in use. When daytime output is low, the utility-scale solar plants often offer retail discounts to encourage more usage. It is also much more cost-effective to install commercial solar energy than it is to buy into long-term contracts with a utility-scale solar energy provider. Commercial projects tend to be more difficult to build because they require access to more surface area. However, commercial projects can provide a return on investment that residential solar energy projects cannot.