For some years, there has been a growing interest in using solar energy in our businesses and homes. There are several successful examples of the use of solar energy, which demonstrate the feasibility of the technology. However, we must be careful and be properly informed about the technical and legal aspects associated to formulate and develop sustainable and profitable projects.

As a first point, it is important to note that before thinking of installing solar panels, we must ensure that our facilities are as efficient as possible. Sometimes it is possible to achieve significant savings with changes in patterns of use of equipment, which require any or very small investments. It is also possible renovations of equipment such as air conditioners, electric motors, lighting, boilers and others would be recommended. Such investments in enterprises with high energy consumption, tend to be profitable and recover in less than two years. With energy efficiency strategies can reduce energy bills by between 10% and 40% on average. After reaching a high efficiency, moving to implement photovoltaic solar energy is easier and more profitable.

The next point, very important, is to define the optimal capacity of the system to be installed. Before want to fill our roofs and fields of solar panels, it is useful to analyze what are the characteristics of our consumption. Although progress is being made in the regulations for the development of such projects in the country, the current recommendation is to think of photovoltaic solar systems for self-consumption with network connection without batteries. The term self-consumption means that systems should be designed to make building consume, if possible, all of the energy produced by the solar system, with the least possible amount of surplus. A surplus is generated at the time when the solar system produces more energy than it consumes the building.

Given this reality, it is essential to ensure that the solar system is designed in such a capacity to generate the least amount of surplus energy. It is recommended to analyze the characteristics of consumption, load profiles time throughout the year and other considerations. A detailed study would obtain the necessary inputs to determine the optimal capacity for self-consumption.

Once you know what the maximum capacity of the system that may have to be considered self-consumption, attention should be paid to the availability and suitability of areas to install solar panels. Not all roofs are suitable. There are two factors to consider. Furthermore, the structural issue is extremely important as solar panels increase the load support for roof structures and depending on the angle, by wind action can produce loads in tension and compression (push and pull). If necessary we must invest in strengthening roofs. It should make a proper review of the subject of shading and structures, being important to ensure accessibility to the system to cleaning and maintenance. A simple rule is that for every kilowatt (kW) solar power installed 8 m2 of roof area available are required. It is therefore possible to make a quick estimate of how much capacity you can install in the available area.

By having the above information, you can determine if you have enough space to install the optimum capacity of solar panels. A proper feasibility study and engineering design would provide the best conditions for the company to acquire and use technology successfully for many years.

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