Solar Power System Surface Exposure
When you design for a solar power system, what you’re looking for is southern surface exposure. It doesn’t matter if you have it on the roof or if you have it on the ground. The space needs to orient toward the south.
The solar panels need to be exposed throughout the day. It is best to have a solar panel that can rotate to absorb constant solar energy to turn into electricity. That would be the best way to orient the building. That is true whether the solar power system is on the ground or on the roof.
Here is a rule of thumb for the location of a solar power system. We say, “the higher the better.” There is empty surface available on the roof in most buildings. So it makes perfect sense to use that unclaimed real estate. It’s an ideal location for the installation of a solar power system.
Hitting 100% Solar Energy Gain
What percentage of solar energy gain can we have? We want 100%, but that’s not possible right now. Solar panels only have so much sunlight exposure in the day. Of course, at night there is no sunlight. So then you have to depend on more traditional systems for electricity.
Nowadays, they are harvesting solar energy and storing it in batteries. That technology does not necessarily make sense for a homeowner, yet. However, it does make sense for bigger installations.
Zero-Cost Solar Power Systems
We are on our way to zero-cost harvesting of solar energy. We are going to have that at some point. The next technology that we need to focus on has to do with the batteries. That is where you can store that energy. We need to make them smaller and more efficient. Also, we need to make them so that they have greater capacity. Elon Musk is already exploring that. That technology is at the forefront of the future success of solar power systems.
Once we have enough storage space for solar electricity, we can use that energy during the evening hours. That is when there is no solar energy. We need to harvest that solar energy during the daytime, and then we can use it in the evening by means of batteries.
Planning for an Emergency
There aren’t direct safety or security issues that solar panels can help in a facility. However, it can make the building less dependent on the electrical grid. The building can be prepared if the electrical grid goes down. If a building can harvest and store solar energy in batteries, then it’s able to use its own electricity. But, the batteries can only store so much electricity. So, it’s not an indefinite type of power.
Right now, a solar power system isn’t something to depend on for security purposes. If we have an act of terrorism that takes out our solar grid, solar technology for temporary use would be okay. There are other ways to plan for an emergency as well.
A gas generator is a good example. Many buildings have installed generators that can work 24 hours as long as there’s fuel. They can generate enough electricity for the building to continue operating. Solar power systems are not quite there when it comes to gaining and storing electricity. They’re not suitable to depend on in the case of an emergency.