- Step 1: Understand solar power Understand what solar power is: electricity generated from the sun, often through a method known as photovoltaics, or PV; as sunlight hits a photovoltaic cell, it turns into direct current. Constellation Energy captures the sun's power through both thin-film and crystalline PV solar panels.
- Step 2: Realize the financial benefits Realize the financial benefits: Constellation Energy installs and maintains the system at no cost to you; you simply agree to buy the energy it generates. Most organizations realize a first-year price reduction versus traditional utility-supplied power. That initial savings could grow over time if grid power prices rise.
- TIP: Be prepared to sign a 15- to 20-year Power Purchase Agreement; a long-term commitment is required.
- Step 3: Consider the environmental impact Consider the environmental impact. Installing solar power at your facility supports renewable energy, promotes company pride, and can help meet any sustainability mandates that may apply to your corporation or organization.
- Step 4: See if you have the space Know if you have the space: You'll need at least a 100,000 sq. ft. rooftop or 2.5 acres of flat, cleared land next to or very close to the facility using the energy. Either way, the area must get unobstructed sunlight. Roofs must be less than five years old and have a minimum 10- to 15-year warranty remaining on them. Designated land must be in a zone where solar panels are permitted, and they must remain in place for at least 20 years.
- TIP: Land will not be cleared to make room for solar panels. Any individual trees that are cut must be replanted elsewhere, three to one.
- Step 5: Know if you live in a solar-friendly state Know if you live in a solar-friendly state. Currently, California, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania offer renewable energy incentives that make a conversion to solar worthwhile. To check your state, go to "dsireusa.org":http://www.dsireusa.org/.
- TIP: Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) granted to solar producers can be sold to help buy down the cost of electricity.
- Step 6: Estimate your annual electricity usage Estimate your electricity usage. You'll need an annual demand of 1 to 1.5 million kilowatt-hours to make the conversion feasible.
- Step 7: Get started Interested in learning more about a solar power system? To get started, contact Constellation Energy at Sustainable-Solutions@constellation.com or 1-877-427-2005 for a tailored assessment.
- FACT: American solar PV capacity tripled from 2005 to 2008, with more than 33,000 new projects installed in 2008.
You Will Need
- Interest in long-term electricity rates
- 000 sq. ft. roof or 2.5 cleared acres
- Solar-friendly state
- 1 to 1.5 million kWh annual usage