Can Factories Benefit From Solar Power?
The manufacturing industry is one of the biggest consumers of electricity in the global energy market. Due to the sheer number of equipment and machinery that needs to be powered along with utilities for office facilities, manufacturing companies need a continuous and heavy supply of electricity.With the growing awareness regarding the environmental degradation caused by traditional sources of energy, both consumers and businesses are shifting towards renewable sources of energy. The goal is to reduce carbon footprint at each and every step of the manufacturing process. A lot of manufacturing companies (especially those in the automobile and electronics sectors) are turning towards solar power as a viable means of clean energy.
Critical Factors for Implementation of Solar Power in Factories
Before implementing solar power in factors, there are certain key parameters that need to be taken into consideration.
- Rooftop exposure- Factories typically are located on large plots of land which means that there is plenty of space available on the roof for extensive installation of solar panels. Despite easy access to the area, it is wise to analyze the energy requirements of the facilities and tally them with projected energy generation depending on the surface area.
- Load requirements- Energy-intensive factories typically use a lot of high precision tools and maintenance equipment; the various equipment and their energy consumption rates must be noted, and a clear plan for load consumption must be made. All of the equipment must be accounted for along with associated power consumption such as lighting and water filtration.
- Shift Timings- Shift timings are usually fixed for every manufacturing facility. A lot of factories operate on multiple shifts. The power generation must be calibrated according to the shift times. Factories operating in night shift must ensure adequate solar exposure and high energy conversion factors to store additional power in batteries.
Advantages of adopting Solar Power in Manufacturing Factories
Some of the major advantages of using solar power in factories are mentioned below.
- Providing energy during peak hours- The peak manufacturing hours are during the day which coincides with timings of maximum solar exposure. Hence, factories can choose to shift to solar power and not rely on the grid thereby saving costs in overhead charges. With robust power back-up facilities, factories can even choose to partly power their operations during the night using energy stored in battery packs.
- Ease of maintenance- Solar power has no moving parts or complex mechanical components. They are far less liable to equipment fault and breakdown. There is very little maintenance required for solar power. Additionally, solar power is noise-free which further improves its environmental-friendliness.
- Ease of customization and flexibility- Utilizing power from the main grid comes with the restrictions that are placed by the grid operators. Factories often do not have the freedom to manage their power supply and optimize their energy expenditure. This freedom is offered by solar power. Through the use of in-house solar panels companies can regulate the power supply and manage their shifts better.