When it comes to investment opportunities for manufacturing facilities, there is no shortage of options. There are many potential solutions with attractive ROIs, but have you considered that your facilities’ electricity source could be one of them? Solar is a practical solution for manufacturing facilities that can often be overlooked. In this article we’ll spell out the case for solar in manufacturing that could be hiding in plain sight.
An aerial view of the rooftop solar array installed at Protolabs, located in Plymouth, MN.
Roof Conditions and Location
Manufacturing facilities often have large, flat roofs that possess ideal conditions for an effective solar array. Ample space is available for the number of panels required to achieve the building’s desired electricity offset, while the panels can be oriented due south to soak in the most sunlight and achieve maximum production.
The typical location and height of manufacturing facility roofs also ensure that shading from nearby buildings or trees won’t interfere with the array’s production, and additional installation costs associated with multi-story buildings are avoided.
Electricity Use, Peak Shaving, and Reliability
Manufacturing facilities consume a lot of electricity. According to figures from the EIA, they use 95.1 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity per square foot each year. In a 10,000 square-foot facility, that would equal the annual electricity use of 80 homes!
Manufacturing facilities consume most of their electricity during the day, making solar ideal for savings through a process called peak shaving. Electricity is more expensive during the day’s peak demand hours, which often make up 30-70% of an electricity bill. Electricity generated by solar panels is used to ‘Shave’ off the peak electricity loads, and significantly reduce the cost of demand charges.
Grid-tied systems ensure reliable access to electricity. During the day, grid-tied facilities use electricity generated by solar panels, and at night or in cloudy weather, the facility uses electricity from the grid. With grid-tied systems, there is no risk of there is no risk of interrupting your facility’s operations.
Reducing and Stabilizing Electricity Costs For Your Manufacturing Facilities
Solar is guaranteed to reduce electricity costs. Utility bills represent 30% of operating costs for the average organization¹, wile solar has been the world’s most affordable electricity source since 2016², with the price dropping by more than 70% in the past decade³.
Solar offers price stability. US electricity prices have increased at a rate of 1.8% per year for the past 25 years according to the EIA. As electricity costs continue to rise, savings increase and your facility will pay a steady reduced rate for electricity.
Sources: Rocky Mountain Institute¹, International Energy Agency², Solar Energy Industries Association³.
Solar is an effective way to achieve sustainability goals. Solar doesn’t produce air pollution or greenhouse gasses, and a rooftop solar installation can earn more LEED® points than nearly all other green building initiatives.
Considering Solar for Your Manufacturing Facilities? We’re Here To Help.
IPS has been helping organizations implement solar for over 30 years. We’d be happy to answer questions, illustrate what solar would look like, and demonstrate the financial payback for your facilities. Request a quote today to get started!