Planning to switch to renewable energy solutions for your business? Then you’re on the right track. With the energy demand continuously rising and the use of traditional fossil fuel sources becoming a huge environmental concern, switching to renewable energy sources is a smart step moving forward.
Aside from securing a stable energy source and generating tremendous long-term financial benefits, businesses are investing in renewable energy for a much greater purpose: to contribute to our environment’s conservation. By collecting energy from sustainable and clean sources like solar, wind, and hydroelectric, businesses can operate while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and other elements that degrade our air quality.
Not sure where to start? In this article, we’ll walk you through a couple of things you need to know about renewable energy solutions:
- Business energy usage
- Type of energy
- Different types of renewable energy solutions
- Challenges of renewable energy
1. How is your business’ energy usage?
Before exploring your renewable energy options, you must first have a good idea of how much energy is needed for your business.
What are the machines you have? What is the size and location of your business? What are the goals and ambitions of your stakeholders? Depending on the costs and your business revenue, will it be worth the investment?
Some renewable energy solutions can be installed on-site while others can be purchased from an electric utility with green power resources. Assess your business needs and goals to determine if renewable energy is worth the investment.
2. What is the type of energy produced by the device?
This is not just about the type of natural resources that we gather with the installation, but also about the type of energy the device produces. Some types produce electricity, while others produce heat or both electricity and heat.
For instance, there are two common ways to utilise solar energy: Via Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Panels and Solar Thermal Energy (STE). Solar PV panels convert sunlight directly into electricity while solar thermal energy (STE) refers to harnessing solar energy for thermal energy (heat) most commonly used for heating systems.
3. What are your renewable energy options?
There are different types of renewable energy:
- Solar – The most common type of renewable energy which captures radiant energy from the sun. Basically, a 10-hour charge for energy storage units whether needed or not. With a billion-year lifespan, solar energy won’t be gone anytime soon.
- Wind – Second common type of renewable energy is wind. It works by using turbines that capture winds and convert them into electricity. Wind energy can be considered solar energy due to winds are phenomena that are caused by different atmospheric temperatures.
- Hydroelectric – Oldest type of natural energy is hydroelectricity. It is a form of energy captured from water in motion. Ancient Greeks used flowing water in the wheel of their mills which automatically grinds the wheat that makes flour.
Installation of water turbines is strategically placed, usually set in a water reservoir such as dams or waterfalls. The water hits and spins the turbines, generating electricity.
- Biomass – It is a resourceful energy source. It uses organic waste to create energy. These materials are called Biomass Stockfeed. The thermochemical process is used to burn, stabilize or dehydrate. The product then is burned to create direct and indirect energy. Direct energy means heat is used to generate electricity while Indirect means heat is used as biofuel.
- Geothermal – Energy is generated by utilizing the trapped heat under the earth’s crust. This kind of source is more reliable unlike wind and solar since heat underneath the earth is always available to be tapped, not to mention that it is more eco-friendly than other types of fuel found under the soil such as fossil fuels.
It works in the form of steamed waters below that surface. It operates the turbines which then generate energy without the need of using fuels to make the machine work.
Despite the handful of options, some limitations come with them. Take wind power, for example, it is basically free fuel as wind is always available. Though, wind can be unpredictable, which is called intermittency. Other factors can affect the types of green energy differently.
4. What are the challenges and limitations of renewable energy sources?
Provided all the good things that green energy can provide and how it can be harnessed, they tend to be a bit of a challenge when being implemented.
There are a lot of factors when placing and using these types of self-sustaining energies:
- Solar – Solar energy will save you money in the long run, but location plays a big factor in its sustainability. Ideally, your business must be located in a sunny spot with unobstructed views. You should also prepare for the upfront cost of the installation of the panels and storage units.
- Wind – Given that they generate little pollution, wind farms are built mostly in remote areas. They create a lot of noise, and given the height of each turbine, they can obscure the visible horizon which is technically not a good thing with cities.
They can also be a threat to wildlife that are airborne. And due to the far sites of these turbines, delivery of power can be expensive since it uses extensive power lines to reach the needed location.
- Hydroelectric – This type of energy disrupts natural water flow which affects habitats around them. It also uses more energy than it produces because fossil fuels are used to power up the machines.
- Biomass – Even though it uses a plethora of possible fuel, it is not as clean as it is. The process of burning is still a cause of carbon emission. It also requires a wide area of land to use for its materials to grow. With that said, plants are needed to grow, hence it won’t be that efficient. Biomass fuel is still in development since it is relatively new.
- Geothermal – Although very resourceful, it is prone to earthquakes and other geological occurrences.
Huge upfront capital is another factor. Renewable energy is technically a new technology, which makes the installation pricey.
Investing in renewable energy solutions isn’t a piece of cake. But if you carefully assess your options and plan your renewable investment well, the long-term benefits will surely outweigh the challenges.
Author Bio: Carmina Natividad is a passionate writer who loves going to the beach, petting animals, and collecting plants. She loves sharing her insights on sustainable living, and how individuals and businesses can reduce our environmental impact. To know more about sustainability, renewable energy, and renewable investment, visit Gore Street Capital.